The Millennial's Guide to Starting an Online Business
It's more than just curating a feed of product shots on social media.
So you've decided to start an online business. How do you get started, and how do you create success? Here's how you can do it:
Check out successful shops (some of our favorites are Neon Island and Taclob) to see what works and what doesn't. Learn from their best practices and their mistakes. You're sure to pick up something inspiring.
TIP: When you visit a brick-and-mortar store, chat up the personnel to get a better feel of how it's run.
It always pays to keep updated on what's going on around you. This could take you anywhere from creating witty posts that relate to a current trending topic, to finding new business ventures and potential collabs.
TIP: Shameless plug right here—check out Spot.ph for the latest pop-culture trends, new hangouts you can stalk, and shopping intel. Call it practical market research if you will.
It's fairly easy to start selling online—which is great for you, but also for your potential competitors. With all the photos, videos, and articles your potential consumers are seeing, how do you stand out? The foolproof solution: Make your product as awesome and as unique as possible!
TIP: When designing your product and marketing materials, ask yourself, "Is it Instagram-worthy?" If yes, it's likely to stand out.
Find your identity
Now for the fun part! Since this store is all yours, you get to decide on the brand's identity. What will it represent? How should it sound on social media? Does your brand name inspire recall? How should your logo look? These questions are all necessary in figuring out the image your brand will have.
TIP: Partner with someone who has a strong design background. Call in a marketing expert, too, who can help you craft a quality brand. Use your networks!
Know your customers
Who are your customers? Where can you grab their attention? Where would they be most comfortable making a purchase? The bottom line: Whether offline or online, it's important to locate yourself where your customers are.
TIP: Go out and mingle! Talk to your target customers, and find out what they want in life. Which of their issues can your product or service possibly solve?
Not only will this help you reinforce your brand visually—it will also increase your chances of making a sale. Online, pictures have to do the talking. They're the best way to show customers what they're getting since they can't see it in person.
TIP: You might want to leave this to the experts: a pro photographer, a stylist, and perhaps also an art director. Again, use your networks and look up your ol' college buddies.
Reply in real time
Online shops are great for reaching more people compared to having a physical store. However, customers also expect to be able to reach you at an instant. Make sure you're always online so you can grab every opportunity to sell troubleshoot any issue pronto.
TIP: Subscribe to a data plan with a strong and reliable connection. You also need a phone with a long battery life.
So you've received the order and the customer has paid. The next big challenge: How do you get the product from where you are to your customer's doorstep? There are lots of options to explore, from courier services to scheduled meet-ups. All delivery methods require lots of coordination—offer a few options and let the customer decide on what works best.
TIP: Consider getting a coordinator who can focus on deliveries. This frees you up to work on other aspects of your startup.
Start with friends
Never underestimate the power of your own personal network! Having your friends as your first customers allows you to practice and get feedback, so by the time you have real customers, nothing can faze you.
TIP: Give them special discounts so they're even more encouraged to try your product. Then, ask them to post about it online using your special hashtag. Boom: instant marketing team!
When your business starts to grow, you'll be managing customers, suppliers, and partners all at once. You'll be dealing with lots of transactions, and it can get difficult to keep track of everything especially when your business starts growing.
TIP: Use productivity and efficiency tools from a reliable partner.
To simplify and grow your biz at the same time, you need the right solutions, and that's where Globe myBusiness can help. Sign up for the mailing list of Globe myBusiness here and find out how they can help you improve and grow your business to create your success.