If I had a pound for each person who has told me about spending unnecessary money getting their website built, and then more on the products, posters and other promotional activity without testing the waters first I’d be on a beach somewhere adding more tan to my tan!

All jokes aside, though, an online business needs as much research as any traditional business.

The only issue is that because we all read about the billions of people using the internet, many of us feel that just by virtue of erecting a website we will stand to make lots of money…dream on!

Here are four simple tips you should bear in mind before starting an online business:

  • Tip 1: Start small
    Don’t be too eager to dive in head first, using up all your savings to set the business up. It’s much better to start small – that means a basic website that does what it says on the tin, with a small supply of products that you can increase as demand increases.

    When you start an online business for the first time, you will make mistakes, so to soften the blow on your time, finances and your emotions, start small.

  • Tip 2: Get to know the market and test your results
    As you go, you’ll learn which products sell well and where you’re actually making a profit.

    It’s a good idea to start really broad once you learn how to do your market research, reduce it down until you have a handful of products that do really well. This is known as the funnel method.

  • Tip 3: Start on ebay
    Ebay is a great tool for beginners to use to learn how to sell online. It’s quick, easy, and inexpensive, and it’s a great way to hone in on your customer service skills. You can also see how you can cope with supply and demand as well – if you plan to promise a next day delivery, for example, selling a few products on ebay will give you an insight into whether you can honour that on your own website.

    Ebay users who view your listings are seeing them because they’re searching for your type of product.

  • Tip 4: There’s no such thing as a get-rich quick scheme
    Starting an online business is just like starting any other business —it takes patience, determination and persistence. Don’t expect to be magically rolling in money overnight. And don’t just jump at every “opportunity” that comes along for fear of missing out.

    If you take the time to understand what you’re doing, there’s plenty of room in the e ecommerce industry for you to make money.

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