Running a successful online business is far from easy. Starting from almost zero name-recognition and traffic, building a stylish website, and generating revenue. Clearing each of these hurdles is extremely hard, and you need an effective and detailed action plan to ensure your success. Sadly, the way you go about creating this plan isn’t simple. Depending on the type of online business you are trying to create, you’ll need to change how you approach things on a fundamental level. That’s why this article won’t aim to tell you some basic action plan that you can follow step by step, but rather, it will help you recognize some key questions that you need to ask yourself that will empower you to create a successful online business yourself.

Local, National, or International?

How you build your brand, go about marketing, and approach customers all depend on what kind of market you want to penetrate. Do you want to target a local market, a national one, or do you want to go international? Of course, they each have their pros and cons:

  • Local markets: if you want the easiest market to create a successful online business in, especially if you’re a small business, you want to start locally, at least. You’ll be able to provide better customer support and don’t have to deal with international competitors. Starting up requires relatively low capital and you’ll be able to make profits relatively quickly. Of course, if you’re offering local services or products, this is your only choice.
  • National: if the services and products your online business is providing lend themselves easily to being remotely provided, it is almost always better to go national over local. The increased customer base means you have way more potential for growth and you won’t remain a slave to the fluctuations of the local economy. The downsides include a higher starting capital because you have to make sure your business is compatible with the provinces/states you’ll target and slower profits in the beginning. It is really hard to build a national brand if you’re starting from scratch, and that’s why most businesses target local and national markets concurrently having strategies for both.
  • International: the difference between national and international online businesses are not big. You just have to contend with extra regulations and more complications when filing taxes, and in return, you’ll get access to a much larger market. It isn’t viable to go international in most instances unless you’re providing highly demanded services.

How Will You Earn Money?

Making money is the primary objective of every business, and you need to put some thought into how your business will make money. This will inform how you create your website and promote your brand:

  • Accept as many payment methods as possible: this is a no-brainer. You need to allow users to pay by their favourite payment method. Needlessly restricting payment options will definitely result in lost revenue.
  • Unique ways to encourage users to do service with you: having an online business means you’re relatively free in the ways you can advertise to potential customers and entice them into doing business with you. This is one of the internet’s biggest strengths. For example, you can use Fourthwall, a startup, to create a custom thank-you message every time someone buys merchandise. This is seen huge successes in the YouTube community. Of course, this isn’t applicable to every online business, but there are similar startups that are relevant to other kinds of online businesses. You’re sure to find something that will help you.