The ABC's of Starting an Online Business

The very first thing you learn in any educational institute as a child is your ABC's, right? Then why wouldn't you learn the same thing when it comes to owning and operating your own online business.

There is no perfect science to running a business - online or offline - but there are some handy pieces of advice that other business owners share to make our lives easier. As Studio Krystal has grown, I've learned along the way how to launch, own, operate and maintain a successful business. 

Yes, owning a business is hard-work and you do need to dedicate large amounts of time to making your business run smoothly and produce your income. But what if you had a simple formula to get yourself started that increased your chances of success? 

You better have answered with "I want that, Krystal"!

As a brand new entrepreneur looking to start her journey there is a to-do list a mile long in front of you. And, in fact, you might not even be sure what to put at the very top. Should you work on your branding first? Should you work on building your website? Or maybe you should launch a blog first?

None of these options are wrong and every business owner is going to have a different method. In today's post I'm going to make it as easy as A...B...C! 

With the popularity of online business booming there seems to be a lot of unknown questions floating around from new entrepreneurs. These questions center around a variety of topics including choosing the best website platform or understanding how you can use social media to effect your growth and sales. And while at some point you WILL have to know all of these things, they aren't necessarily the things you should be focused on first.

In fact, there are really only three items that have made Studio Krystal so successful. Those include:

  1. Audience
  2. Branding
  3. Content

Who is your Audience?


To run any successful business you need to have an audience base or a set group of people who you intend to sell your services or products to. Without this audience your business will sit on the internet and make you ZERO money. Plain and simple. But you can't just pick 'anyone' or even worse 'everyone' to be your audience because that also won't make you successful. 

There are loads of items that can help you determine your audience. And when I'm working with a new client on their projects I often send them a 2-page questionnaire which helps them - and myself - narrow down their audience so we can create the best designs that are going to attract that group of individuals. 

The first thing I start with is:

What is their gender?

Obviously if you are a company like Victoria Secret you primarily aren't targeting men to purchase and wear your products. Therefore, the obvious answer to this question would be females. But what if you are an athletics company who carries both female and male clothing? Then chances are your audience includes both genders. Based on your niche, services or products you can quickly figure out what gender your targeting.

Who old is your audience?

Age plays a very important part in your business. For example, you've launched a cell phone company and your first product is going to be the latest and greatest in cell phone technology. Would this product be best for your 60-year-old grandmother? Probably not. Therefore, you can quickly figure out that the age range you want to market this product towards.

Once again, your niche, services or products are going to quickly determine what your audience age range is. And yes, it's completely fair to have more than one range - Studio Krystal does!

When it comes to getting to know your audience the biggest piece of advice that I can share is keep asking questions. You want to make sure that you narrow your target audience enough so that you can direct your marketing efforts at them instead of just 'everyone'

Others questions that you can ask to define your audience include:

  • What is their education level?
  • What is their occupation?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • What is there favorite retail store?
  • Do they have a family?
  • What three words would you use to describe their lifestyle?
  • What can you find them doing on a Friday night?
  • If they had disposable income, what would they spend it on?
  • What are their goals within the next 5 years?
  • What are they currently struggling with?

I could sit here for hours writing out questions because nothing is too specific when it comes to identifying who you want to take advantage of what your business has to offer. The more you narrow your audience, the greater return on investment you will see because you're targeting the RIGHT people!


Yes, Branding is important


One of the absolute biggest struggles for many bloggers and business owners is branding! But branding is also one of the most important elements that I feel should be in place when you are starting any online venture. Without branding you become just another misunderstood business floating about on the internet. 

Let me ask you a couple of questions:

Do you want to be recognized online as an expert in your field?

Do you want to be successful online?

And finally, do you want to be the next Melyssa Griffin of your niche?

I'm pretty sure that you just answered 'YES' to all of those questions. If so, then the answer really comes down to your branding!

But wait! 

What is branding?

Branding is a marketing practice that involves creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates your products or services from that of another business. Branding involves everything from your logo to the tone of voice that you have on your social media platforms. It's specific and it's strategic. 

How do YOU create effective branding?

This is the hardest question to answer in just a few short sentences because each business will have a different strategy behind their brand. For example, some businesses might need a logo while others might not. Some business will need branding across social media platforms and some might not - depending on if they use social media, usually. Branding really comes down to what you need in your business. But here are some simple steps to help you start creating your brand:

  1. Research
  2. Create a Business Plan, Marketing Plan or Brand Discovery
  3. Create your visual brand (IE: color scheme, logo, social media graphics, etc)
  4. Create your branded website
  5. Implement your strategies NOW

There you have it my simple (yet, not so simple) 5-step process to researching, creating and establishing yourself as a brand. Branding is an extremely hard topic to sum up in just a few short paragraphs so continue to be on the lookout for more detail-oriented posts around branding.


Content


What if you visited a blog or website that was blank?

Immediately if you visited a website with a lack of content or disconnected content you would probably ponder and search for content you were looking for. Often times when I'm visiting a new blog or business that I haven't been on I immediately head for their blog section. Blog content helps me to establish a connection with the owner of the website - or the person writing the content. Blogging is also the ONE area of your website that is the most filled with RICH content! If I don't see a blog section or have to search and search, I'm out! 

Content holds your audiences attention. It allows them to get to know your blog or business. It allows them to connect with you, build trust and come BACK! Your content also enables them to want to purchase services or product from you. And that's just a start!

Content is really the key to having an operational blog or business. Without content - text, images, links, etc - there would simply be nothing on your website but a blank page! 

Whats type of content can you share?

The easiest form of content to produce, maintain and have complete control over is what you put out in the form of blog posts. Blog posts can cover a variety of topics from the latest tech gadget, to social media, to your grandmother Christmas backing - of course, your blog content depends on your niche.

As I've stated, this blog content quickly grabs your readers attention, starts to build that relationship between them and you, and finally encourages them to become loyal to your brand!

Sounds great, doesn't it? Then get started, NOW!


You've learned your ABC'S !

Audience, branding and content! Who knew that starting a blog or online business could really be as simple as A...B...C! Of course, it really isn't that simple once you get into the small details of each of these steps. But this gives you the clearest idea of what formula has made Studio Krystal so successful!

It's your turn! 


Need some extra help with these ABC'S? There is no other place more perfect than Simple & Strategic Solutions for Success Online, the knowledgeable little Facebook Group run by yours truly!

Share your struggles, ask questions, connect with other bloggers and business owners, and finally, get EXCLUSIVE content just for YOU! Join now, it's FREE!