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5 Easy Tips To Help You Set Up An Online Business

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A lot of business is moving online and there are plenty of opportunities to make a lot of money. Just look at the top 5 richest people in the world and you will see that 2 of them (Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg) have made their money from the internet. Both of these billionaires started with pretty well nothing and built up a massive empire by taking advantage of the internet.

Below are 5 tips that we at Virtual Reception have for budding internet entrepreneurs. These are things that we have learned along the way and that we think will help in the development of your online business.


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Tip 1 - Do Your Research

Before starting any business whether online or offline you need to do your research. Spend time researching the size of the potential market and whether or not there are other players in the market. Try to get an idea of how receptive the online public are to the type of business you are looking to develop and whether they are using something similar already.

If your business is a totally new concept (like Facebook or eBay were when they started) it might be an idea to do some focus groups or at a minimum do some online surveys. While you may risk giving away your idea you need to also get an idea of whether people may be interested. Another good way to gauge the market is to talk to some web designers and get their opinion. Web designers get exposed to a lot of different ideas and should be able to give you a bit of feedback in terms of what appears to work and what doesn't. If you are worried about people stealing your idea then it is always a good idea to get them to sign an NDA (non disclosure agreement).

Prior to launching you should also check out what regulations there are around your specific online business. Is the area regulated by government departments, laws or existing agreements. Are you going to be dealing with items that are also regulated. It is important that before you get involved in a specific industry you need to know what you have to do to comply with all laws surrounding that area as well as general laws such as privacy requirements, spam requirements and PCI compliance requirements.

Tip 2 - Get Your Company Structure Right

The vast majority of people that set up websites do so by simply registering a domain name (in their name) and getting a website built. If they have an existing business then quite often they register the business via the existing company and have the online business as something of an add-on.

If you are setting up a new online business then it is a good idea to think about doing it through it's own company. You can set up a company with ASIC for around $480 and if you use an intermediary company you can do it for around $520. Setting up a PTY limited company will limit your personal liability and separate the business assets from your personal assets.

Tip 3 - Pick The Right Domain

Picking the right domain is a key task in setting up your new online business. Spend a bit of time researching names and researching the meaning of those names. If you think that your online business could go international then you should do some research into what your chosen domain name could mean in different markets. You don't want to pick a domain that works really well in English but then offends potential visitors in German or Swedish.

Back in the old days there was an SEO benefit in picking exact match domains. These days there is no real SEO benefit however there can still be aesthetic benefits by having an exact match to a regularly searched keyword.

Another potential option when looking to buy a domain is to buy an expired domain. The benefit here is that you might be able to find a good suitable domain that also has some domain authority. When buying expired domains you need to be careful that you are not buying someone else's problems. You need to check out what the domain has been used for and check what links the domain has. If you are unsure of what to look for then you should probably get some advice prior to buying that expired domain.

Tip 4 - Get Your Marketing Right

Given that you are looking to set up an online business you should not scrimp on your online marketing costs. Firstly, don't take shortcuts when setting up your website. There are lots of really cheap options out there in respect of websites however you will generally get what you pay for. Find yourself a good web designer and work through the process. A good web designer will be able to advise you on what works best and what doesn't. They can also advise you on the best way to structure your forms, organise colours on your website and structure things to maximise conversion.

Once you have your website in place you need to start thinking about how you are going to drive traffic to your website. The two online methods that website owners use to drive traffic are generally via either paid or unpaid. If you are looking at paid then you might think about using Adwords or using Facebook advertising. Paid online advertising is usually referred to as PPC which basically means pay per click. The way it works is you bid for clicks with the supplier. If you have bid high enough then your advert will be displayed in front of users and if that user clicks your advert then you are charged for that click.

If you are looking at unpaid traffic then you need to be looking at SEO. While it is unpaid traffic it will still take a significant amount of time and potentially money to get your rankings up and get your SEO working.

If you are not sure what you are doing in terms of either paid or unpaid online advertising then you should consider taking advice from a professional. Make sure that you do your research and find someone who follows the rules and practices ethical SEO. There are a lot of shonky SEO operators out there who will promise the world for a small amount of money. Ethical SEO practitioners will be able to detail what they are going to be doing and how they believe that will impact your traffic and ultimately your business.

Tip 5 - Outsource If Possible

Don't try to do it all yourself, the problem with trying to do everything is that you end up focussing 80% of your time on all of the admin related tasks and only 20% on the strategic aspects of your new online business. It makes a lot more business sense to look at outsourcing some of those tasks so that you can devote more time to growing the business. When considering tasks to outsource think about what is core to the business and what is not core to the business. You should keep the core tasks close to you while looking for opportunities to outsource the non core tasks.

Bookkeeping is an area that can be outsourced quite easily. There are a lot of good bookkeeping services out there at quite reasonable prices. Make sure that you pick a bookkeeper who uses an online service so that you can easily access your data from a range of devices and from almost anywhere you want.

Your telephone answering is another area that is easily outsourced to a company like Virtual Reception. Here at Virtual Reception you can have your incoming calls answered promptly and professionally every single time. Our prices are reasonable and our service level is exceptional.

Another area to consider when looking for potential tasks to outsource is to think about getting yourself a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant can carry out a whole range of duties to really take the pressure off you and your staff. Also, if you go with a Virtual Reception virtual assistant we will only charge you for the exact time that we end up working for you. It really does make good financial sense.

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