Last updated – January 10, 2021
Starting an online business is not an easy task. Either you wouldn’t get a single idea to start your online business or you will have multiple ideas but can’t decide which one would be the most profitable for you.
The idea is just one thing, but you also have to evaluate market potential, find your audience, make a business plan and only then you can start your business. In this article, I have created a step by step guide that you can follow to start an online business in India.
You would be able to take an informed decision after reading this article. Let’s start without wasting time.
Step by Step Guide to Start Online Business in India
Step 1. Select the Business You Want to Start
The ideal business will be at the intersection of your interest, profit potential, and demand for the services.
You would be excited to learn more when you start your business in the domain where you have the most Interest (In my case, it was Finance). Profit potential tells you that the business can run for a long time and demand shows that there are paying customers.
For example, if you have a passion for fitness, then you can start a business around sub-niche “weight loss”. There will always be people who are looking for advice on losing weight. They will be happy to pay if you help them lose weight.
The easiest way to test an online business (without a major investment) is to create a blog and engage the target audience.
Step 2. Evaluate Market Potential
Once you have your business idea ready, you should evaluate the market potential. This means you need to validate your idea, check through different means that there is demand and paying customers in your business segment.
The initial steps in evaluation can be finding the keywords and volume of searches that people have made. This can be accomplished by using a keyword research tool like SemRush.
You need to check that there are 3+ long keywords with volume more than 100. The reason is that long-tail keywords have better intent and search volume indicates that there are people looking for solutions to their problems.
You can also search on social media platforms like FB groups, Twitter, Instagram about the pain points and the solutions which people are discussing and sharing. If you find something matching your ideas then it validates your business idea.
Finally, you need to know the money earning potential of your business idea. You can cross-check the potential by looking for similar websites sold on ‘Flippa’ recently. If you find a high priced blog or website in your niche being sold in ‘Flippa’ then it means that people are already running businesses in the niche.
This confirms that you have a good chance to start a solid online business and if required sell it on ‘Flippa’.
Step 3. Find Your Target Audience
The next step will be to look for your target audience because that is how you will be able to reach and offer your solutions. Different online businesses have different ideal customers.
First, you need to identify your target audience and look for places where they could be found.
For example, if your travel blog is catering to adventure-seeking middle-aged people then look for working people in the age group of 25 to 40 who are looking to de-stress during weekends.
If your online business blog is about exotic or foreign vacations specifically for LTC, then you need to find corporate people who need to go on 7-10 days of vacation with the family.
Now, you have identified your customers, you need to check online places where they can be found, it can be FB groups, online forums, discussion boards, and hangouts.
You have to carefully watch the problems they are facing and help find solutions. Be genuine in solving their problems and not to promote your products every time as group admin could block you.
Step 4. Plan Your Finances
The best part of starting an online business is that is easy, simple, and less time taking. Most of the online businesses require a website at the frontend to showcase your expertise and solutions. This is your initial capital which you require.
To set up a website, you need funds to invest in a suitable domain name and hosting. Now depending on the nature of the business, you may require some other investments like plugins for creating e-commerce stores and shopping carts.
There will be a recurring running cost for the internet, electricity, rents and renewal fees of hosting/domains. It will be a good idea to take an estimate of 12 months of recurring costs.
Initial and recurring costs will be the only finances you need while starting out which hardly turns out to be a few thousand rupees.
Step 5. Make a Business Plan
Like any other business, you too need a business plan but in a slightly different manner. A business plan is necessary to chart out business objectives, define goals and lay down strategies to achieve them.
For your online business, you need to have a plan for the type and number of content, their quality and publishing schedules. Do plan content for 6-8 months for your blog. You have to decide on keywords and the content you will be building during planning.
Next will be the SEO plan for attracting organic traffic. You need to look at target keywords, search volumes and align content accordingly. You need strategies for link building and getting better rank on Google.
Later, you may require a promotion plan to promote your blog and products on various social platforms. Promotion plan will involve reaching out to bloggers in your niche, creating your own FB group, Twitter and possibly a Youtube channel.
But let me tell you while starting out you need to focus only on one social platform and do not try everything simultaneously.
Step 6. Setting up Your Online Business
The technical process for setting online business is damn easy. You do not require an IT expert or a developer for starting your website.
The blogs make excellent business sense when you communicate your message and create authority among people.
Blogs are versatile, in a sense, you can integrate most of the online businesses with your blog to generate income be it affiliate marketing, e-commerce, selling e-books and courses or collaborating with brands.
FBA, online e-commerce stores (like Shopify) and drop shipping are profitable when you have a unique physical or digital product that you can manufacture locally or outsource cheaply. In addition, you need lots of organic traffic and optimized landing pages for conversion.
Starting an online consultancy and digital marketing agency is best if you have enough requisite expertise or skills to solve problems. Apart from expertise, you will also require marketing skills to run an online agency.
One more important thing, when you are starting an online business you should not worry about creating the legal entity.
You have the flexibility to run an online business in any form of an entity be it a proprietorship or a private limited company. Once you have enough traction and are generating good revenues then only you should think about forming a legal entity.
Step 7. Promote Your Online Business
You need not wait for things to happen on their own, you will have to promote to let people know your brand and products. There are ways like Email marketing which can be used to tell about your business.
You can use social media platforms like FB, Twitter, and Instagram to share your new post & products. Promotion of products can be done by engaging with influencers and collaborate with fellow bloggers.
You can frequently contribute to other blogs (guest posting), discussions and forums to make your blog known or can even try out a paid advertisement to pull traffic.
I have shown you A-Z process of starting an online business. Now it’s time to take action. Learning is not worth if you don’t implement what you have learned.
So put your sincere efforts in the execution of your business plan. That is the only way to achieve success. Even if you don’t succeed, you will get some experience that would help you grow your business in a better way.
What business idea you have finalized and when you are gonna start, just let me know in the comments.