Doing something new is exciting. And, starting an online business is the same. But, do not get excited yet. Because, the journey is very challenging.
The first challenge that founders faced is having a strong reason. They quit because their reason is not enough to overcome the challenges of a startup.
With that, here is a quick guide to starting an online business in the Philippines.
Know your target customer
First thing to consider if you are starting an online business is to know your target customers. Figure out the various problems that the customers are currently experiencing. Because, this information can make the difference between success and failure.
Start by using Google Keyword Tool. Search related keywords related to problem that you want to solve or services you want to offer.
And, know where you can find your customers. The common place in the Philippines is in Social Media. Facebook is the most used Social Media in the country. Join Facebook groups to find out their problems.
Also, ask Group Administrators if they can give you demographics of the group members. This information will help create a solution that is closer to the problem.
Once you know the problems, your products or services must solve these problems. This is where you decide on the unique service or even a product that you will be selling to your customers.
Test your solution to their problem
Track the behavior of your customers using Google Analytics. Or, built in analytics tool in your preferred social media.
This analysis enables you to find out the services or products that customers want. By doing this, the risk of offering something that are not in demand to customers is less.
After you decide on the problem to solve, it is important that you get feedback from your would be customers. By getting comment from your customers you adjust your products and services.
Use polls in Facebook or ask questions straight to your customers.
Modify your solution and test again
Change your solution based on the tests that you have conducted. Learn from your customers. Change your initial solution from time to time.
The other thing to prepare when you want to start an online business is a solid marketing and sales plan. This is the only way potential customers will know about your business. Thus, you must set sales goals which you will expect your venture to do.
Create your Test Product
If you start an online business you should also consider building a website on a custom domain. Creating a website for your business is the best option. Because, this will give your business the place to market your products.
And, another advantage of having your own website is savings in cost of advertising.
But, creating a website is not enough. Because you will also have to raise awareness of the services or products that your business. So, try to consider establishing the right social media channel to use. And, the correct target demographics.
There are a lot of options of doing business online. You can use sites such as Twitter, WhatsApp, and Facebook to operate your business. But, this would not be the best idea if you want your business to be long-term and successful.
Once you have observed that your sales have increased then you are now in business. It means you might have found your business model. But this is not the end. The process continues in a cycle.
Choose your Office Location
Now that you have a customer. And, solution to their problem, the next stage would be to formalize your business.
A good online business must also have a good location for its operations. Home-based office is good enough during the search process.
If you want to grow your business, then it should have an official location. The location you choose for your business will affect its visibility. So, this is a very important decision because it will have an impact on your business. So, choose the best location.
More than 75% of internet users usually analyze products online. But, they still want to see proof of your business offline. Thus, you should ensure that the business is in a favorable location. Because the more visible your business will be the more profitable it will become.
That is why establishing your business beyond the internet is best for your business. Because, you will have a presence that is accessible.
Formalize and register your Online Business
The other thing to consider when you decide to start an online business is its structure. Having the right business structure is very important. Because the type of structure you will choose will determine how to use your resources.
An example of a business structure to use in an online business is Sole Proprietorship. Taxes in the earnings and losses passes through and stated on the owner’s personal tax return. This business requires to registration with the Department of Trade and Industry.
Another is a Partnership. Partnerships can be General or Limited. And, guided by the Civil Code of the Philippines. This business structure needs registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
And the Corporation which is a formal business structure. It has board of directors and shareholders. With the new law, a single person can also apply for registration as a corporation.
Study the Corporation Code of the Philippines before registration of this business structure. A corporation also requires a registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Starting an online business is a process. There are no right or wrong during this stage. Learn fast from failures. Then, move to the next stage. The important thing is the customer and the solution to their problems.
If you want to know more, check Lean Startup by Eric Ries.
Also, we ask that you share this with your friends. And, in Social Media.
Enjoy your journey to a better life.