5 Keys When Starting an Online Business
Tags: ERP  
31/08/2011 12:00 AM

The internet has opened a whole new world of opportunities for entrepreneurial individuals to create their own successful online business. With the right idea you could join the list of people who have made something of themselves online. However, a great idea isn't enough on its own. While the topic of starting your online business can be and has been the subject of entire books, in this article we've boiled it down to five of the most important points to remember, including being unique, creating a great looking website, practising search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques, interacting with customers via social media and utilising Business Software

1. Be unique
Unfortunately, you're not the first to take on the endeavour of starting an online business, and there have been far more stories of failures than there have been successes. Many of these ventures were doomed to failure to begin with because they failed to establish a point of difference for their online business. In a crowded marketplace you need to find your own niche. You need to identify a need, and you need to be the one to fill it. This could involve coming up with an idea no one has tried yet, but at the same time it could simply mean doing something that has already been done, but in a different way.

2. Create a great website
Designing a great looking website gives you an air of professionalism that is crucial in the online world. Your website should announce you as someone that can be taken seriously. If users see your website and think it looks bad, they are far less likely to trust your business as one that can fulfil their needs. If you don't have the necessary coding knowledge to build your own website, try a content management system such as WordPress, or outsource the design of your website to a freelancer on a website like elance.com.

Once you have a great-looking website up and running, you then need to make sure you get as many eyes to it as possible by practising SEO techniques. SEO is all about getting your website to place as highly as possible in the rankings of search engines, such as Google. However, ranking must also be for the most relevant keywords to ensure you attract the right kind of customer –  the type that is going to convert into a sale. There are loads of books and online information about SEO, while there are also many SEO businesses out there who specialise in getting your website to rank well.

While ranking well in search engines is essential, an increasing area of importance in the world of online business is social media such as Facebook and Twitter. In fact, statistics show that more users access Facebook on a daily basis than Google – an incredible achievement. Social media allows you a unique avenue of interacting with customers in a personal environment, whether it's through a Facebook Fan Page or building up your followers on Twitter.

Once your online business has taken off, it pays to consider using business software or ERP in order to streamline any processes, and take care of some of the minutiae associated with administrative tasks. ERP was once designed for larger enterprises, but these days even small to medium businesses (SMBs) can benefit from the integration offered by ERP Software.

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