The 5 Stages of Growing an Internet-Based Business

Launching a new business venture is no easy feat, and although it’s a bit easier to accomplish when you start with a web-based enterprise, you’ll still have to go through a lot in order to get started, much less achieve success. Luckily, you can avoid some of the hang-ups that obstruct real-world businesses, such as the overhead associated with operating an office or retail store, including a lease, utilities, payroll, insurance, security, and so on. Even if you hire employees, operating in the online arena generally means these people can work from home. So you probably won’t need nearly as much startup capital in order to kick off your professional endeavor. But still, you shouldn’t expect your undertaking to be a breeze by any means. That said, when you understand the basic steps you’ll have to go through in order to launch and grow your business online, you can plan accordingly and make your dreams of virtual success into a reality. Here are the stages of growth you’ll have to contend with when you opt to launch an internet-based business.

  1. Getting your ducks in a row. Whether you’ve got enough cash on hand to privately launch your online business or you’re seeking funding from lenders and/or investors to keep you afloat until you start earning an income, it’s important to create a business plan that will see you through at least the first year or more of your start-up. This essential document acts as a roadmap for your business, so even if you don’t need it as a tool to secure funding, it’s an integral part of preparing your online venture for success. Of course, you’ll also need to set up a website, an online store, and perhaps even an on-site blog, and you can’t fail to make SEO and social media part of your plan. But the prep work is almost more important than the actual launch of your web-based business.
  2. Creating a brand. Before you launch your website and get your business up and running, you need to spend some time creating your brand. This will include not only basics like your color scheme and logo, but much more important considerations like your mission statement, your business goals, and the very ideals that form the basis for your business operations. All of these things must carry across every element of your online efforts, from your website to your social networking accounts, if you want to form a cohesive and compelling brand message.
  3. Creating content. The content you use to represent and promote your online business is important for several reasons. For one thing, providing your customers with informative or entertaining content will ensure that you not only make a good first impression, but that you continue to offer increased value with every update. In addition, your content can add to your efforts at optimization since Google is giving preferential treatment to websites and blogs that post top-notch text and multi-media offerings. And of course, over time you can build a reputation based on the satisfaction of your customers, and your content is a part of that.
  4. Expanding your online presence. When you’re just starting out, you may find it difficult to narrow down your options for expansion. With tactics that range from listing with brilliant directories, to setting up online profiles, to networking with colleagues and industry blogs, to creating internet marketing campaigns, it can definitely be hard to formulate a strategy that works for you. In truth, you may have to go through some amount of trial and error before you get it right, but you’re not reinventing the wheel. Although every business will have a unique strategy for online expansion, you can follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before and benefit from their expertise.
  5. Tracking and analysis. The final piece of the online puzzle revolves around using tools that allow you to track your efforts and analyze the data in order to spot trends and see what is working for you and what isn’t. This will help you to tailor your strategies for greater future success.

Related posts:

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  2. How to Develop an Effective E-Commerce Business Plan
  3. How to Create a Digital Marketing Plan for Your Startup
  4. 5 Helpful Small Business Internet Marketing Tips
  5. How to Refine Your Local SEO Strategy
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