E-businesses are on the rise. According to a recent study, global online sales will represent 22% of all retail sales in 2023.
Statistics prove that there’s no better time to build an internet-based company than now. Creating an e-business from scratch can be challenging, but it comes with a great reward: the feeling that you’re serving your clients with the best product and technology in the market.
Keep reading and discover how to start e-business and run a successful brand online step by step.
The difference between e-business and e-commerce
First things first.
Before diving into the steps to build a successful e-business, you must understand the difference between e-business and e-commerce. Marketers and industry leaders use these terms to describe online companies, but they’re not quite the same.
- E-business stands for electronic business. E-businesses are companies that manage and perform any kind of commercial activity online. E.g., Google and Twitter.
- E-commerce stands for electronic commerce. E-commerce platforms sell products and services over the internet. E.g., Amazon and eBay.
The term e-business refers to all online businesses, while e-commerce describes companies that buy and sell goods online. In a nutshell, e-commerce is a subset of e-business.
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4 steps to build a successful e-business
Find a gap in the market
A gap in the market is a great business opportunity. That’s how small companies enter competitive markets and grow to become profitable.
If you’re planning to launch an online store you’re not going to battle with Amazon, Walmart, or Rakuten for a top spot in the marketplace industry. Your e-business can’t compete with tech giants.
Instead, you should focus on finding a niche. Look for the undiscovered; for an unsolved problem that needs an urgent fix.
How can you find a niche market? These tips can get you closer to it:
- Reflect on personal experiences and interests and think of what you feel more passionate about. What are you good at? How can you improve at it? Can you turn your hobby into a full-time job?
- Study your potential customers and see what their pain points are. People tend to share honest opinions on social media or online forums like Reddit and Quora. Do some research and see their concerns on different services. Identify solutions for them.
- Define your niche. Once you decide on the type of e-business you want to build, consider key factors like the industry you’re serving, the demographics, and the product prices. Test your idea and find out if it’s profitable.
Invest in technology
An e-business that doesn’t rely on technology is like a tree without blossoms or fruits: you may take care of it with love, but it won’t grow.
Technology is the cornerstone of your e-business. Designing a visually appealing business website or a successful mobile app is as important as offering the best product in the market. In fact, 74% of companies say that web and mobile user experience is crucial for increasing sales.
As a business owner, you should consider investing in:
- An optimized e-commerce website or online store: an optimized website provides a great shopping experience to customers. Focus on improving navigation features, page speed, and multimedia assets.
- A user-friendly mobile app: most of your customers are going to interact with your brand from their mobile devices. That’s why mobile apps must be easy to use. Make onboarding easy and offer great design.
- Social media: your presence on social media can be decisive to get more clients. Launch ad campaigns in your business profile, post blog articles to drive traffic to your site, or leverage the power of video content with a well-structured Youtube Marketing strategy.
- New technologies: have you ever heard about the metaverse or AI? These technologies are on everyone’s lips and they’re grabbing headlines all over the world. Get familiar with these topics and examine how new tech solutions can upgrade your business activity.
Hire, teach and retain top talent
Employees are a company’s most important asset.
If you attract the best tech talent, your business is more likely to grow faster. Even if you don’t have big plans to develop your online store, sooner or later you’ll need to delegate work to others.
Did you know that 94% of employees will stay longer with a company that invests in their development? This number shows how important it is for people to feel valued. Whether you want to hire a freelance website engineer or a part-time graphic designer, you should focus on offering them a great workplace culture.
This goes for businesses of any size. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning to open an e-business and hire 5, 50, or 500 employees. You’ll always need to build a strong and competent workforce to reach your goals.
Try to find top tech talent in platforms like GitHub, AngelList, and Upwork. Explore candidates’ profiles and see how they’ve helped other businesses to thrive.
Track your success and keep learning
Tech businesses are growing at an unprecedented speed. Even if there aren’t many competitors in your niche market, your success isn’t guaranteed.
Think about Uber. Their roadmap to stardom is often seen as inspiring for young entrepreneurs and startups. Uber went from a tumultuous 2017 to IPO in 2019 after revolutionizing how people move in urban spaces.
Uber built a market. They saw a problem and came up with a solution. A few years after their foundation, companies like Lyft and Bolt entered this new market to improve what Uber was doing wrong.
What was Uber’s plan to stay on top? The firm expanded its service to other areas and offered extra features on the app so that users could enjoy an overall better experience.
Apply Uber’s strategy to your e-business. Follow these tips and don’t let your company get left behind:
- Analyze your performance: know your numbers. Measure the results in every area of your business regularly. Optimize your resources and improve the low-performing units in the company.
- Study your competitors: just like Uber. Conduct competitive research for your e-business and see what the competition is doing. Evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
- Look for new market opportunities: there’s always room for improvement. Track trends in your market and ask yourself questions about the future of your industry. What new technology will change online businesses in the next 5 to 10 years? How can my company benefit from it?
- Never stop learning: network with peers, go to events and read tech blogs. Keep up to date with industry news for positioning your e-business among the best in your sector.
If you want to build an e-business, you must be prepared to drive through a rocky road. It’s a demanding and ungrateful journey at times, but it can be the greatest chance you’ll ever have of working in what you love.
Follow these steps to create a successful online business in 2022:
- Find a niche and take advantage of it
- Use great technology to promote and sell your products
- Attract top tech talent to help you grow your business
- Measure your efforts and improve your performance
Feel free to use the tips in this guide to launch your e-business and start making money online today!
About the author
Dennis Vu is the CEO and Co-founder of Ringblaze, a virtual business phone system company that helps teams to better serve their customers, anywhere