The Ultimate 12-Step Checklist for Launching Your Online Business
Becoming an entrepreneur and starting a business can change your life in such a wonderful, enriching way. Why just dream about your goals and ambitions when you can put them into action and make them a reality? The world is yours for the taking! Here is a checklist to help guide you in launching your online business, so that you can achieve everything your heart desires and begin experiencing all the fruits of your labour:
1. Complete Your Business Plan
Ensure that your business plan is thorough and complete. A completed business plan should include a description of your business, the products or services being offered, how the business will generate revenue, eventual staffing plans, financing, and more. For an online business, it is also important to include where your products or services will be sold. For example, you may have your own website that includes a storefront, or you may opt to use third-party sellers like Amazon, Etsy (Use this link for 40 free listings), Ebay, etc. - or both!
2. Get Finances in Order
Become knowledgeable on the costs of operating your online business and develop a plan to make sure you’re paying the bills on time. While online shops have less overhead, there are still expenses. Anticipate paying these expenses by yourself for at least the first year of business until your revenue will cover operational costs.
3. Name Your Business
Select a good name for your business. You’ll want to ensure that this name has an available URL and isn’t already being used across various social media platforms. Conduct a brief internet search and check with the Secretary of State to be certain the name isn’t taken by another business.
4. Purchase the Domain Name
Once you have confirmed your selected business name is available, purchase the domain name for your website as soon as possible. You can do this on websites like GoDaddy.com or Domain.com. Depending on how you are building your website, pre-templated website builders like Wix and Squarespace include the domain name in your subscription.
5. Register Your Business
You will also want to legally register your business as quickly as possible. This can be done through your local Secretary of State in the USA or at the Business Registration Service for Australians.
6. Brand Your Business
Developing your brand will take time, but before you launch your online business - establish essential branding elements such as the company logo, brand messaging and voice, the company mission and core values, a tagline, and key visuals for your website and social channels. Canva is a great place to design your own graphics, and Cultive Creative can help with branding your social profiles!
7. Build the Store
Whether you’ll be utilizing your website, third-party sellers, or both - you will need to set up an online storefront. This includes adding your products to the store, setting prices, creating custom descriptions for each item, connecting a payment provider, and setting up shipping.
8. Set Up Your Social Media Pages
If you haven’t already, make sure all of your social media pages are set up. Fill out all of the profile information, make sure any visuals represent your brand and start building a following.
9. Develop an Email Marketing Strategy
In order to conduct email marketing, you’ll first need to build up a lead base. Start small by offering site visitors a chance to subscribe to an e-newsletter, or have a pre-launch list where people can get a sneak peek at your products before they are available for purchase. Start thinking of an email marketing strategy to regularly engage with prospects going forward.
10. Open a Separate Bank Account
Open a bank account that is entirely separate from your personal finances, preferably using your business’s name rather than your own. All of your company’s financial transactions should occur using this account.
11. Implement Accounting Software
12. Launch Your Revenue Stream
Even though you might still be putting the finishing touches on everything, start selling! Offer pre-sales to your existing followers on social media, and get your online storefront up and running while you work to perfect all the other details.
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