Starting a business online has never been easier or more appealing, but there are also a host of challenges to face and overcome before you can make any initial concept commercially viable.
So before you rush headlong into your entrepreneurial endeavor, here is a swift overview of the main considerations to encompass.
Is there a niche you can target?
Arguably the most important step which any aspiring business owner will need to take is identifying which market offers the best opportunity for a fledgling firm to flourish.
When it comes to finding your niche market, you need to avoid the temptation to rely on guesswork and instead use hard data in combination with tangible testing to determine the best route forward.
This process should also see you calculating the costs that will come with acquiring customers within a given niche. If the market is already overcrowded, the expense of entering it will be higher, and vice versa.
Do you have the skills and experience to succeed?
It is all well and good to have the ambition to start an online business, but unless you also have insider knowledge of what the industry involves and how to exploit the untapped potential of the niche you have identified, this might not be enough to see you through.
There are two solutions to a lack of skills and experience. The first is to work for an established organization until you feel that you have learned enough to go it alone. The second is to hire talented team members so that your startup is in capable hands from day one. Which route you choose will depend on the next consideration.
Where are you getting the capital?
While the costs of starting a business online can be lower than if you were building a traditional bricks and mortar business, there are still a multitude of one-off and ongoing costs to cover, for which you will need ready access to cash.
Whether you secure the capital in the form of a business loan from a mainstream lender, seek investment from experienced financiers or borrow money from friend and family, you need to know not only how much it will cost to create the foundations of your business, but where the funding will come from and how quickly you will be able to turn a profit.
Are you ready for total commitment?
Being an entrepreneur in any field can be very rewarding and satisfying, but it is also a lot of hard work, and can be stressful for the individual, as well as placing strain on relationships and social life as you put in the long hours needed to get an online business off the ground. This is probably why 90% of startups in this field fail in under a year.
As such, unless you are willing to go all-in on your startup, you may not have what it takes to make it a success. It is always sensible to speak with other business owners to get an idea of what to expect before you start your own company, and to establish whether it is right for you.