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How to Run a Successful Online Business

Careful planning can lead to online business success.

Running a successful online business requires planning, hard work and determination. Preparing for success starts with brainstorming business ideas that interest you and have profit potential. It involves figuring out how much competition you will face in your venture and finding ways to make your business stand out among similar companies. In addition, an important part of running a successful online business is making sure you can reach your target market through a range of marketing methods.


Difficulty: 2

Step 1

Choose an online business based on your interests. You may have a better chance at success if you are genuinely interested in your business instead of just the profit potential of your products and services.

Step 2

Research the demand for the product or service you want to sell. If there is little demand, you will have a difficult time succeeding in your online business.

Step 3

Check out the online competition. Ideally, you will want to start a business that has high demand but little competition. If you are determined to start an online business for which there is already a lot of competition, consider ways you can make your business differ from similar companies or add services that make your business more attractive to customers.

Step 4

Create a business plan for your online business. Because online businesses are often easier to start than brick-and-mortar businesses, you may feel tempted to skip creating a business plan. Starting your Internet business without a solid plan, however, increases your risk of failure.

Step 5

Learn whether you will need a business license to run your online business. Some jurisdictions require Internet business owners to obtain licensing.

Step 6

Use print and online advertising methods to attract customers. Limiting yourself to online advertising may make success harder to attain. Encourage your customers, friends and family members to provide word-of-mouth referrals as well.

Step 7

Set regular hours for operating your business, and stick to the schedule you set. If you treat your online business like a hobby and only work when you want to, you are less likely to succeed.

Step 8

Price your products and services low enough that customers consider them affordable but high enough that you earn a profit. Factor in web design and hosting costs as well as other costs of running your business.

Step 9

Make contacting your business easy. If potential customers cannot easily reach you to ask questions, they are less likely to patronize your online business. In addition to email, provide a contact phone number and mailing address on your website.


Tips & Warnings

  • Consider starting with just a couple of products and services, and slowly expanding your online business. If you start out with too many products, it will be harder to focus on a target market. In addition, you may face more initial competition.

Article Written By Jordan Meyers

Jordan Meyers has been a freelance writer, specializing in health, education, business and parenting topics for more than a decade and a copy editor since 2008. Meyers has written Web and print copy for hundreds of businesses, including many Fortune 500 companies. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Maryland and is studying for a bachelor's degree in psychology.