Fun Fact: Did you know the world has never recorded as many CEOs as we have today? Really? Lol. It was a tease.
Starting and effectively running a business is no mean feat; it never has and never would be.
Fortunately, the tools and technology available today have put some sanity into our operations; business management has not been as seamless as we have now.
Who would have thought that you could someday be able to run a full-blown business with a phone and internet connection?
Today, you can effortlessly begin online businesses like Freelancing, Affiliate marketing, blogging, eCommerce, Amazon self-Publishing, and many others.
While this is interesting and worth celebrating, the seamlessness of starting these online businesses makes it challenging for everyone to succeed, especially when all the players must contend with specific business forces for success.
For example, many people would be carried away by the flood of venturing into the blogging business without a decent idea of the right niche for them. And as such, they are likely to be faced with questions such as:
- Should I start a music blog or a business blog
- Which monetization method should I use?
- Who are my competitors?
- How much can I generate monthly?
- At what particular level can I eventually monetize my blog?
Similarly, many people head straight to Instagram, list a couple of images, and start calling themselves online entrepreneurs; Or isn’t that what many do?
Ironically, getting factual information on social media networks can occasionally be challenging. For example, people with no thriving business boldly tag themselves as business consultants and coaches on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Do I have any problem with that? Or am I practically here to point fingers and attack people’s businesses and claims? Of course, not.
What I am doing, however, is pointing you to the fact that though it is practically easy to start an online business, making it a success is hard work.
There is a high probability that a lot of us start our online businesses based on the fugazi that creating a business online is easy. And suppose you are yet to start one. In that case, I heartily congratulate you as you just stumbled on a great roadmap to creating a successful online business.
And if you have already started one, I feel happy for you too. I believe the token of information you will get in this piece will guide you to building a successful online business.
10 Ultimate Guide to Building a Successful Online Business
Do comprehensive market research
One common mistake many online business entrepreneurs make is that they delve into an online business without really understanding the framework of the business.
Consequently, within six months, they hardly have anything to show for it asides from shutting the business down and saying it is not profitable.
You must understand the online business framework to build a successful online business. Answering pertinent questions like – The number of resources needed, the financial capital required, staffing, etc., would help guarantee your success.
Take blogging or vlogging, for example.
Naturally, you would expect that the majority of your income would come from Google AdSense or other forms of advertisements; such thinking is a misnomer, especially when it comes from the erroneous belief that once you open the blog, you would generate enough traffic to give you some decent returns from Google; earning you foreign currency. This is not true. You would have to do the following to get some level of traffic cum patronage:
2. Be consistent
Some online businesses have the potential to give you immediate returns, while some require a long-time commitment. For example, someone freelancing on Upwork or Fiverr may start cashing out within just a week or two. In contrast, someone in the blogging business may be unable to monetize their blog in 2 or 3 years.
Now don’t let the noise on the social media space discourage you. A freelancer will most likely need to keep working for all the money he makes. At the same time, a blog with tons of traffic can constantly generate passive income once you scale beyond the startup level.
Also, a freelancer may not make a penny in their first few months, hence tempted to quit. Consistency is essential to your success in whatever online business you are venturing into.
3. Develop Your Unique Brand
Branding is essential in everything, but very few people know this. A simple WhatsApp TV business would stand out, as fundamental as it may sound, if well branded.
To build a successful online business, you must incorporate branding into your business activities. And when I say branding, I am not referring to just your brand logo but also the quality of your product and services.
What comes to your mind when you think of Nike and Apple? Luxury, I guess. And think of Victoria Island and envision the image that came to your mind too.
Now have a deep thought and let me know what comes to mind when people interact with your brand.
What are your brand activities? Is your brand known for selling affordable products or high-quality products? Reflect on this, and your online business will be more successful than you anticipate.
4. Get Your marketing strategy right
Marketing is the fuel of every successful business. Yeah, we all know that. However, what happens when you get your business marketing wrong?
Everyone knows the importance of marketing in running a successful online business. However, few people can handpick the right marketing platform for their business.
Many online business owners spread themselves across all social media without a single platform they can pinpoint as their main straight. Therefore, you also need to know if the forum you are focusing on has the potential to give you the proper return on investment.
For example, many marketers spend all their resources on boosting their Instagram followers, but Instagram is ineffective in generating traffic to your website or sales page.
If you are into blogging or any business that deals with the amount of traffic you can attract to your web pages, then Instagram should be the least of your priority.
It is even funny that people with over 300,000 followers hardly have a thousand likes on their regular posts.
As an online entrepreneur, you need to be deliberate on what you consider the right online platform for your business
5. Be flexible
Flexibility is key to building and running a successful online business. I understand you have your business plan harmed to the teeth. However, it would be best if you were flexible about it.
We live in an ever-changing world, and you also need to know when to adopt some changes to your business. Unfortunately, many businesses have failed because they refuse to evolve with the world.
While some make the decision very late, they are already dying at the very juncture when they make the call to adapt. Take Nokia and blackberry, maybe Xeros too, as examples.
To be successful as an online entrepreneur, you need to Feel free to pivot when you feel it is the best approach.
6. Pay attention to Government Regulations
Government regulations are a significant aspect you should not take for granted while building a successful online business, especially if you are operating from Nigeria or other countries where the government can develop various policies that affect the market without paying attention to the players involved.
And suppose this is not clear enough for you. In that case, you can think about the Twitter Ban and the unending regulation on the use and trading of forex in Nigeria. The credit card limits and tons of others.
My best recommendation when it comes to doing business in Nigeria or other African countries is that you should constantly follow the news. I would recommend BusinessWorld.Africa for verified business news and other information.
7. Be conscious of third-party applications
You know something funny about online businesses, and that is the fact that you can hardly depend on your sole platform. No matter how big you are, you will likely still need to use other online platforms to power your business. And if you think I am capping, you may want to have a deep thought on Facebook Vs. Apple fight.
Now, let’s go into the actual talk. For example, if you are into the e-commerce business, you would need to pay constant attention to updates from your logistic companies. For example, if you are into Amazon Self-Publishing, you should pay action contraction on their change in policy.
You should know what is evolving on YouTube terms if you have an online TV on YouTube and other streaming platforms. Being updated with all these things is key to your online business being a success.
I am a big advocate for social networking for every entrepreneur who wants to succeed at what they do. I understand you may want to say you run an online business; hence say you don’t need it. But, trust me, you do.
Networking helps you get an update on the latest event in your industry. However, to succeed in your online business, you must prioritize networking. You can check out Insight Elite Networking and see if it is a good fit for you.
9. Pay Attention to Opportunities
Opportunity, they say, comes only once. While this is not always true, it often happens. So it would help if you constantly looked for opportunities like grants, promotional events, and market vacuums.
10. Be Fine
I recently became a big advocate of rest and relaxation after understanding that a milestone is a never-ending journey.
In all efforts to build a successful online business, taking some days to rest and having a deep recess on your business can help you identify some basic things you may be getting wrong. So, by all means, rest and listen to good music.
Building any business is not easy; talk more of building a successful online business. It takes a lot of deliberate effort. While it is true that there is no one size fits all approach that is suitable for all businesses, the points listed above would help you stay ahead of your competition.
About the Author
Olufemi is a certified management consultant. An experienced management strategist, highly result-oriented with excellent analytical, communication, creativity, and problem-solving skills. He has extensive experience advising clients in both private and public sectors on strategies, business structure design, capabilities and resources required to effectively build and manage teams to drive organisational success and achieve set goals. Olufemi is highly trained in organisational behaviours, boardroom management strategies, etc. His emotional intelligence is impeccable. He is a product of the Harvard business school, Boston, USA, and a fellow of the institute of management consultants.