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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Saving Up and Setting Up a Small Online Business

Saving Up and Setting Up a Small Online Business
by Katie Comer

Online businesses are on the rise, with operations migrating from the garage to the computer. And through careful strategy, your business can exist on the web, too. Here are a few of Modernize’s favorite ideas that can help set up a small business.

Do Your Homework
To have a successful online business, it must offer a service or need that’s either currently not available on the market or can be strengthened for its customers.

Look at how your competitors are delivering this service to determine which areas can be improved. Once determining your product, determine its delivery cost and the costs associated with having an online presence.

Anticipating the Costs
The first and important step to establishing your online business is to begin saving. Any business—whether physical or digital—has costs and expenses. Domains, web hosting, site design, and advertising all cost money and are crucial to keeping your business relevant in a digital environment.

If code isn’t your language and design isn’t your eye, outsourcing work to freelance developers and designers should be anticipated. Websites like Guru and Upwork provide freelance options, listing availability based off portfolio size and cost. Once the online presence your business needs is established, determine which areas can be completed in-house and what should be outsourced. This will help determine costs and form your startup budget.

Saving the Money
Saving money to start an online business should be approached like saving money for any large cost or purchase. It begins with looking at your current financial health, starting with the incoming money and outgoing expenses.

Distinguish between needs and wants, then see if there’s fat that can be cut from your wallet. There are the obvious small but lavish costs that can be cut, like that gourmet cup of coffee or trip to the car wash. And there are deeper strategies, like adjusting your smartphone’s data plan or your cable subscription.

After figuring out what monthly costs are vital and expendable, create a budget and stick to it. Work with your bank to have automatic deductions at the beginning of each month. It is more difficult to spend money when it’s not in your checking account for immediate access.

Deliver and Market
Craft your sales pitch and have it ready. It should be succinct and memorable. Begin thinking about what you would tell your customer base if you only had 30 seconds, perhaps if you got your big chance while in line at a coffee shop or on an elevator. Take your message and get it out there. Marketing online is convenient, with advertisement space available on every website and every page. But be thoughtful where you market, and determine your customer’s demographics and push onto sites where they visit.

With your website live and your pitch message being marketed, make sure to keep your business healthy enough to sustain any new customers. Online costs can fluctuate, so adjust with your business’s current financial status. But it all starts with the first website and its first costs. Begin planning and saving today for an online business that could thrive tomorrow.