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6 Stages of Setting up Your Business Online

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 24/02/2016 Tom Ayling

8 out of 10 business that start in 2016 will fail, statistically. The I.R.S. found the average millionaire has 7 streams of income. Many fortunes have been made, and many have been lost. At any moment, you can just lose it all... which poses the question: is building a company even worth the work? You can't take it with you...
The way I see it, you might as well make a dent (and some cash) while you're here. So I'm going to tell you how to start a business. An online business. (Could you imagine if Thomas Jefferson had even 20% of the resources you have? Be grateful for what you have, and take advantage of it.)

1. Finding the Gaps and Filling the Space

The speed of innovation (especially with technology) has redesigned business in every sector. The gaming industry moving to virtual reality, the health industry adopting wearable technology (i.e. smartwatch), the space industry making massive breakthroughs to create a voyage to Mars! The car industry going electric and driverless.
Yes, some markets are for the ultra-rich, true, but also, not really (yes, I'm contradicting, my last statement). Take the Mars exploration for example; if you're traveling to Mars, you now have new needs, new problems, big problems and micro problems. Someone needs to solve these problems. That someone should be you. Find these problems before they happen.
Creating at the intersection of two passions has led to some of the top innovations in history. Great opportunities can lie between the gaps left unattended by peers. Earlier last year we saw Apple, Samsung and couple of other major brands release wearable watches. While these brands generated wild excitement, most of them did not live up to the hype. The Apple iWatch, for example, has many handy functions, but can't make phone calls. After great anticipation - and great expense - some users were disappointed by only 15 hours of battery life. Functional gaps in major brands created a window for something better to emerge. Cronuz, an eye-shaped wearable watch has the potential to upstage the big brands with a frontend camera and 10 days of uptime.
The lesson here is to identify real life problems, learn what people really want and provide them with a product that answers their needs.

2. Write a Business plan

Peter Thiel, a rock star without the music, is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and hedge fund manager, founding and advising dozens of billion dollar companies in his career, said at a conference:
"A bad plan is better than no plan at all", Peter Thiel said. "If you have a plan, you can always change it..."Start your plan with basic questions:
•What problem are solving?
•Why are you the best company to solve this problem?
•How are you going to make your product/service 100x better than anything anyone have done before?
•Who are you going to need on this journey?
•What metrics are you going to use to validate this idea?
Once you have a plan it's time to create a unique brand for your product.

3. Register a Domain Name and Pick a Platform

Yesterday my friend posted a Facebook status it was one line; When I clicked the link I was shocked that it redirected to Donald Trump's site. Trump understand the importance of a brand on and offline.
Once you have a company name. You'll need to do two things.
Buy your domain: Pick a brandable name which is easier to pronounce, spell and remember. You should go for something that resonates well with your brand and qualify these 7 principles.
Pick a platform for the website: There are several free and paid platforms that come with their own pros and cons, Wordpress and Blogger are two of such that you can use. However, if you intend to run an ecommerce website, there is wide variety of platforms to pick from, such as Wix, Shopify, Magento, just to name a few. While most of these ecommerce platforms come up with great features, Shopify has released several guides, case studies and how-to's that make it very easy to launch website on the go.
Set up hosting: Your website speed is crucial to your performance in search results. Google now favors sites that load fast. Fast loading websites also leave a good browsing experience and users are more likely to buy your product or service.

4. Filing Your Business Formation Papers

Now there're many types of companies you could form your business under. The main ones you need to know are:
Private Limited Companies: the majority of new company's worldwide fill under this structure, this type of company is limited by shares; it has non-public shares that are given to shareholders with limited liability.
Limited by Guarantee: most for non-profit organizations. Unlike Private Limited Companies, a Limited by Guarantee company protects personal finances of it owners. Instead of having shares and shareholders, it has guarantors' and guarantees.
Limited Liability Partnerships: This type is used for registering industries that traditionally operate as partners or a partnership business. Typically used for lawyers, accountants, and doctors starting a firm together.

5. Digital Marketing

A company is nothing without customer. With the internet, companies no longer compete on a local level but a global one. And every market has been impacted by this. Which means your position on the internet is more important than your physical location 99% of time. I'm extremely passionate about this part of business. I work with over a 100 businesses designing customer ways on how that get in front of their ideal customer base. The best way to market your business is from three angles.
Search Engine Optimization: It is a process where you have to optimize certain On Page and Off page elements of your website to make sure site ranks well in search engines for its targeted keywords.
Social Media: You must have a social presence. This acts as a credibility barometer for most customer. Trust is built through social media and sustained through social media.
Customers' based as gone from segments to a connected community. The best was to create this community around your brand is through social media. One way is by creating a Facebook Page/Group.
Email Campaign: In my experience I've seen the highest conversion rate and lowest customer acquisition rate you'll have for sales will be from an email campaign. The intimacy of the inbox is second to none. But it's important to stress the ideology of service over selling.
Nobody just wants to be sold. Those days are over. Customers want to be taken care of. Which means for every sale pitch you email your community; you should send 10 emails that just provide service and value for free. There're price points in the world today, free and premium.

6. Arranging Finance

Today, It's easier than ever to raise money for your idea. With more venture capitalist and angel investors than ever and services like GoFundMe and Kickstarter, it's your obligation to manifest your ideas to make the world a better place.
Every innovative up to this point in time was made for you to be able to start that business you have in mind. Pay respect and execute. Share what you're working on below!

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