This day and age, everybody is shopping online. Internet has created an innovative solution for people across the world in terms of commerce. It also opened doors of opportunity to a lot of people most especially stay-at-home moms. We can now do small online business within the premises of our homes in just a click of a finger. As a mom myself, albeit not stay-at-home, I have started a few small online businesses – a garden online shop, a home and living reselling online shop, and even a commission-based online advertising page.
So, how did I start my small online businesses? It is easy. Here are some steps to achieve this:
Decide on what products or services to sell.
You need to decide whether you are selling a product or a service. For me, this is the most crucial decision that you will be making in the entire process of starting a business. The product or service that you choose will greatly affect your enthusiasm in selling, advertising and all things that comes with business. Thus, you need to decide well. Also, let us not forget that you need to assess your target market along the way. If you think that the product or service is sellable, then head on to the next tip.
Get a full detail as to the product and overhead costs.
In short, you need to do a full-blown research. This might be called by academicians and big businesses as the ‘feasibility study.’ But, you are only starting a small-scale business, so you do you! You don’t need to be as formal as creating a feasibility report. You only need to backup your decision with real and factual data. Otherwise, why would you sell something that will not give you a profit?
Choose your online platform.
There are tons of ways to sell online. You can choose to enrol with Shopee, Lazada, Zalora, and other big online e-commerce platforms. You can start with a Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and other social media sites. Or, you can choose to have your own website. Let me just say that e-commerce platforms will charge you commissions, and a website will require initial costs of building it. Social media sites, on the other hand, are free to use but will be effort-extensive, meaning you have to do every process in the logistics and communication. All in all, you still need to market and advertise well your online shop, brand, and products.
Register with necessary agencies.
If you are starting really really small, you can opt to register later when you have the capacity to do so. However, if you want to secure your brand name and integrity, registering with agencies such as DTI, BIR, and SSS, and getting an online shop business permit from your municipal hall is a must.
Editing apps are your friend.
The thing about successful online shops are that their product images and videos are crafted well. Although they hire professional photographers and videographers, as a startup, you can always choose to learn the basics to minimize costs. There are tons of editing apps that are downloadable from Appstore, Playstore, etc. My personal favorites are Lightroom for photo manipulation, Canva and Picsart for photo editing and rendering, and Kinemaster and Capcut for video editing. These can be downloaded for free.
Organic engagements go a long way.
As a startup, you will always be enticed to buy advertisements on Google, Facebook, etc for exposure. While this well be helpful, organic engagements are still the best. Organic engagement means that you did not pay in order to get likes, comments or followers. People like, follow and comment on their own. This can be challenging, however, if you are able to get a good grasp of your target market, your product and how you present it to the former, then you will always be able to get more organic engagements.
My personal tip is to always communicate with people on your page. Do not forget to reply to a customer, much so if they commented on a post publicly. When you respond to a comment, your reach will widen as well. This is true to almost all social media sites as they rely mostly on algorithm. I will write more about this on a separate post.
Journal everything, most especially the numbers.
Having a book of your transactions will give you a better grasp about the standing of your business. Accounting is very important, otherwise, you will not know where you stand economically and financially. You need to assess this on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis. And when your business becomes bigger, you might need to hire a bookkeeper or an accountant to do all of these.
And finally, please pay yourself.
This is probably the least done by online sellers. Remember that you are the most important role in your online business. You are doing everything on your own so you deserve that salary! You need to decide on how much you would pay yourself whether on a daily wage, a percentage of your sales, or a monthly salary. This will allow you to account better. When you pay yourself, you are also making sure that what you get from the business is an expense and not a capital withdrawal. Also, you will be able to get a better picture of the business when you allot an amount as your salary, rather than withdrawing any amount from the business whenever you need money. This will also create accountability on your side as the ’employee’ of the business. Remember, your business is a separate entity from yourself.
Congratulations on deciding to start a business. Remember, everything that started small gives the sweetest success. May our business thrive so we can help the economy and society! Good luck!