Jeremy and Oliver share the most important tips about starting an online business. Watch the video below or download the audio
1. Get to market cheaply!
- When starting out online, get your prototype built as cheaply as possible. Look off-shore for web development, in particular India and Asia.
- Consider open source platforms. ServiceSeeking.com.au is built using Ruby on Rails, an open-source agile web-development framework. We’ve been able to reduce the time to market by tapping into the Rails community and using open-source code as a basis for much of our site functionality.
- Outsource as many basic tasks as possible to freelancers. In the beginning, we outsourced several graphic design tasks as well as basic admin. Now we outsource much of our site development and some customer service work as well. You can find freelancers at Elance or get quotes from freelancers in our services market.
2. Get to market quickly!
- Get your prototype into the market as quickly as you can. Don’t waste time building the bells and whistles, but focus on the core concept.
- Focus on functionality rather than beauty. Most people won’t even notice your site design as long as it works. Design is expensive and time consuming and something you can tackle once you have proven your business works.
- Rather than predicting what customers will want from your site, get into the market and listen to customer feedback. Keep in mind that with this approach it’s vital to keep an eye on the customer service side of things to understand what people are saying about you.
3. Have a traffic driving strategy
- You must have a traffic generation strategy before you launch. Don’t build a site and hope for customers to come because they won’t. You should anticipate spending much more on marketing and distribution than on site development.
- It’s important to understand how Google works. Getting a handle on the difference between Google Adwords and free listings is a good first step in this process.
- Consider publicity. Don’t pay for exposure on TV, radio, online or in print when you can get it free. Get a PR agent or start spruiking your business to journalists and bloggers who create news about your industry before you launch.