online business pro tips for beginners

some people think that starting an
online business is really easy and they don’t really need a business plan in
fact I think you need a business plan more than ever you’ve got to think about
the fundamentals just this is online doesn’t mean that the business is any
different you still want to make money I mean that’s what it’s all about so do
you know where your customers are do you know how to find them do you know how
many there are do you know why they buy from you in
fact the question I want you to be able to answer for yourself is what job are
they hiring my product to do and when you understand that you can work on your
brand story now brand story is equally part of a business plan a business plan
is not a set and forget document in fact the smaller the better I like a one page
plan quite frankly in fact I think I’ll pull one together for you the most
important thing is to keep reviewing it what are your critical numbers what is
important to you and are you meeting those is it a viable business and
there’s a difference between having a fabulous product and getting the product
to market in a way that is going to be cost effective you might think that
online is cheap it is not necessarily if you think that there is 1.5 billion
websites on the planet trying to find people to attract them to yours can be
really hard so planning thinking about what is your unique proposition and
staying agile and listening and responding and adjusting your business
plan should be your guide it should be your scorecard it is something that you
refer to regularly you
so there’s a reason why you think you’re going online and one is because you
might have had your products at local markets you might be selling it on eBay
and you’re getting a little bit of traction and you’ve want to take the
next step the next step doesn’t have to cost you a fortune I’m all about
profitability I don’t want to just send your life savings on making sure that
you get this perfect website when really you could build it in a day first thing
is of course don’t be fearful that’s really important and do your research
look for the tools around you your business might be a Content business so
what are the right platforms for you look at the other people that other
vendors and merchants that are using those platforms and get the feedback
they’re not hard to use in fact I’m quite envious but really set your
aspirations the first thing is to have customers who are paying you money and
working out how you’re going to make a profit you I get asked lots of questions about
starting a business but one that I probably don’t get often enough is what
about governance compliance legal responsibilities and even structuring
your finances we’ve kind of think if they’ve salt some think they made a
little bit of profit maybe they’re making money I urge you to take
responsibility and make sure you understand how money flows through your
business it’s really really important often people are doing what they call
cash accounting which means they think that when the money actually hits their
bank account but that’s when profit occurs it’s not necessarily so in many
of the businesses that I work on with Shark Tank for instance they’re having
to buy their stock way way in advance and they don’t get paid by their retail
customers for a very long time they can be having to finance that store for 60
90 120 days and that can do them out of business so they think they’re making a
profit but it’s the cash that’s going to do the men take the time to understand
the money money is not a dirty word it’s how business works the other thing is
the legals you have responsibilities when you’re a business owner as a
director of the business make sure you understand what they are so I want you
to consider things I want you to consider your cash flow ask the
questions you don’t have to do it all you can get somebody to help you but you
really must ask the questions be financially literate it’s really
important don’t be scared understand the differences make sure you’re complying
with the laws of the land make sure you’re paying your taxes and you know
what they are ask people for help it’s important you I think one of the toughest things when
you’re starting your online business is thinking you need to be the expert in
everything you really don’t but it also doesn’t
mean you necessarily have to recruit people either especially when you
haven’t got a lot of income coming in so I like to think that there’s pretty much
every job I have done in my business except cutting code I’ve never been able
to do that I’m pretty good at testing I must say I can find errors in things but
I don’t actually cut code so think about what are your strengths what are you
really great at and what is the value that you are adding to your business
what is your unique energy one thing that a founder always brings to your
business is pragmatism we are able to make decisions in ways that nobody else
is am I going to spend my time on this or am I going to spend my time on there
if we think back to your business plan this is a really really important
document for engaging people around you you may choose to recruit somebody if so
what are they in fact gonna do so it’s about the return on time invested your
most precious resource is your time you
I hear from a lot of startups that they’re spending money on marketing and
they’re not getting returned they’ll put a couple of thousand dollars behind a
campaign on Facebook or Instagram and it doesn’t deliver them anything and
they’re wondering why so it’s really important that you do have a budget but
if we go back to basics weary customers where are they hanging out and what are
they prepared to pay also sometimes people get really confused because their
friends and family say oh this is amazing and so that so often what we
need to do is just remind people and when you’re so urgent to sell something
you’re not necessarily setting up the story in your business plan we talked
about your brand story what is the job that people are hiring your product to
do and that’s what you need to talk to you must build trust for your brand so
one of the things that I did was get out and about and meet people I’d go to
events I’d be the face behind the brand building trust online is so so important
so what sort of marketing budgets should you set aside
is it a proportion of your sales well when you haven’t got new sales a
proportion it’s not a really good thing and also how much does you spend on what
particular area of your business truly it depends on what sort of
business that you’re in I would argue that if you can get other people to
endorse your product or use it it’s a really good idea to see it Institute is
a really good thing people have a great sense of relatedness it’s that subtle
influence that people have if I see Jane using it will I want to be like Jane and
then they may buy your product at this very very early startup phase it’s about
what can I afford and it’s about do analyze do spend a little bit see what
happens it doesn’t really need to cost you much to build a video and people to
laugh video content the describe that show that interview build rich content
people will engage with rich powerful content there
teaches them something inspires them that shows them a different way so think
about what you can do with your own resources ask lots of questions keep
learning look at what others are doing in your business look at what others are
doing in your industry and competition is not a bad thing you I love KPIs key performance indicators
you know people kind of bandied that term around but what do we really mean
I’m talking about benchmarking I’m talking about dashboards and scorecards
I want to know if my business is doing well I want to know how it’s performing
compared to other businesses in their similar sort of game so there’s certain
metrics that I think every online business should look at one is the
number of users the number of people who come to your website and looking at the
proportion of a new each month it’s really important to understand the
bounce rate because you might be attracting the wrong sort of customer
and if your bounce rate is over 50% you need to work out that maybe you’re not
telling people the right story to attract them you need to look at your
average order size you need to look at your conversion rate and your conversion
rate is likely to differ depending on what sort of device they are using if
they’re using a desktop it’s going to be far higher than if they’re using a
mobile or a tablet in fact mobile is about 25% of a desktop conversion rate
in terms of benchmarking so if you’re doing better than that congratulations
but if you’re attracting all of your traffic to mobile and you’re converting
at such a low rate you’ll really need to look at what you can do to get your
conversions going and then you’ve got your average order value which is what
people are spending are they’re adding just one thing to their cart or are they
buying more than one of course you tried to upsell people but ultimately the true
metric for success is are they coming back are they loyal customers what’s the
life time value of a customer the first time somebody buys from you it’s just a
trial they’re testing you out they’re seeing if you’re real the second time
they come to you they are a customer they believe in you and they know you’ll
do what you said you’re going to do but the third time they’re an advocate that
means they may well be telling other people how amazing you are so if you
look at your marketing spend and if their lifetime value might
be $1,000 over a 12-month period then it’s worth spending more to get somebody
who’s going to come back over and over again the key metrics as far as I’m
concerned for any online business it’s the number of users your bounce rate
your conversion rate the average order value and the lifetime value of a
customer do keep a little eye on the cost to acquire a customer to because if
that gets too high you have not got a sustainable business then put them in a
scorecard a dashboard keep them loud and proud I’ve got mine on my phone I can’t
help myself I like to know what’s going on of our businesses I love a KPI you
probably will too you so you’ve probably heard about the term
traffic when it comes to online yeah but all traffic is not equal remember that
each of them is people real people said they’re not just numbers and you want
the right sorts of people the right sorts of customers to come to your
website this is not a quantity game it is a quality game making sure you’re
attracting the right people with the right message at the right time in any
given day there are two million blog posts published so you might think I’m
gonna stop blogging and talking about what I do and this will drive traffic to
my website there’s some really critical things you need to do if that’s going to
be your strategy moving forward yes I want you to build Authority yes I want
you to have a clear story that you’re telling and blogging might be the a way
that you do it and you might promote those blogs but you need to make sure
that those blogs are structured for search engine optimization seo and
please don’t be scared of it just don’t be scared of it it’s another term that
people use nigga I don’t understand this it’s this simple it’s about having the
right key words and the right keyword density don’t just keep pushing in the
same word over and over again because it won’t make any sense for humans who
actually you really want to read this this should be no more than between one
and three percent of keyword density so if you want to be world famous for pet
food right pet food one or two times not that much more than that make sure that
it is in the header so that the header is relevant how you write the header is
materially important what we call the meta tags are also important they’re the
descriptors of the page what we call H ones now I know I’m getting a little bit
too technical but don’t be scared of this and h1 means it’s a header and and
Google and Bing and all the rest love headers because that is what gives them
relevance instantly what you put in the header and what you put in the content
must align otherwise Google is gonna go really quickly as I’m not coming back
here I was deceived I don’t another very important thing as I said
in building Authority is to have your posts or your content elsewhere this
does two things while it builds your authority and relevance secondly it’ll
build your backlinks years ago there was something called backlink farms and they
were awful and dangerous you know literally websites and all that we will
listen less and less and less to bank links but that’s not what I’m talking
about I’m talking about like-minded people who would be interested in your
content would put a link to your post so that will drive traffic
it’ll also drive Authority you’ll find that there are websites that have more
authority than others so anything that’s produced by the government or local
authorities or associations in other words things that are not commercial
universities schools has a much higher ranking than commercial websites so
there’s a few of the tips on search engine optimization I’m happy to share
our internal guide that we use on a dummies guide to SEO remember SEO is
about being attractive to people it’s not just being attractive to Google make
sure that what you write makes think thanks to human beings it’s really
important that’s really what you’re writing it for Google may or may not
come to visit Bing may or may not come to visit so happy to make that available
but you are in business for real people doing real things and make sure you look
like people you building it and thinking they are going
to come is not the answer I see that time and time again people coming on set
there pitching their fabulous idea they’ve built their product I think
people are just going to flock to it and buy it’s not the way it works in fact
building it and they might come in could be your downfall so yes we know you need
to produce minimal Viable Product you need to have strategies for growing your
business and backs about revenue it’s about finding customers and finding
these customers there’s really only three sorts of customers there’s those
who didn’t know they needed the product completely new have never purchased such
a thing before but they do want it to solve the problem that they’ve got
secondly it might be stealing customers from your competitors because they’ve
already got the problem but you they you just want them to switch to you and the
third thing is about bringing customers back to you very difficult when you’re
at absolute startup but is how do you get people to buy your product more than
once because if you have to find every customer one by one by one it’s very
hard to grow and scale your business so sometimes people look at the business
model they look it’s a subscription model that is that they you pay on a
monthly basis and you get given a service or a product so it might be that
there’s an upgrade across grade more things to add to the products but you do
need to make sure you’re looking at other reasons for talking to your
customers regularly what is going to be interesting and relevant to them is
there more information that can bring you back the cleverest customers engage
with their clients regularly so for us it’s about reminding people of all the
things they wanted to do having a bucket list and also leaving the dates of the
people who are important to them so that we can remind them of a birthday or an
important occasion that’s coming you

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