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Cents and Sensibility

Ways to Make Money Online (Part 2 of 3)

Money comes out of a laptop screen
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Did you know that in 2006, consumers spent $30.2 billion on online goods and services?  This according to IMRG, the industry body for global e-retailing.

Over the past 10 years, the growth of the Internet has resulted in the major success of many online-related business. But just how easy is it to get started?

Before we get started on the second part of the three-part series about ways to make money online, check out last week’s part one blog on making money online  in which I talked about different types of businesses you can set up.  Once you zero in on that, here’s how to launch:

1. Business Plan

Regardless of whether you have a store front or an online business, you will need a written plan. Key components within that document should be: Target market, competition, funding, resources, and ways to retain consumer loyalty. Preparation and research is key to writing a successful plan.  For hints on template and formatting, click HERE.

2. Find a Market

What can you offer that bests your competition and sends them running for cover? Do not overlook this question. Do your research because you do not want to sell your product or service only to find out that someone has a superior product/service at a more affordable price. A great idea is a good start, but you must be strategic and knowledgeable about your marketplace to succeed.  Watch Shark Tank any day if you don’t believe me.

 3. Financing

One misconception regarding online businesses is that you do not need financing to get started. If you need products, materials, advertisement, or employees, how are you going to pay for that? It is very common to obtain conventional lending to jump start your positive cash flow. Speak with banks and lenders for your Internet start-up, and note you must be able to provide the business plan that I mentioned above.

4. Get Online

The website for your online business means everything! The design, set-up, navigation, and security settings are all “turn-ons” and “turn-offs” for the clients. Websites cost varying amounts to build. The basic ones may cost as little as $500, while a very good one that dominates the market could cost up to $20,000.  If you are unable to build your own site, try searching for web developers online and ask around for recommendations. Make sure you update your content often, as creativity, imagination and invention are essential if you are going to succeed in the long term.

5. Transact

Make it fast, easy, and, most importantly, secure for customers to order. Having a site with a difficult sales process is likely to lose customers. Also, build confidence in the services that you provide. Ask customers to provide feedback and react to whatever they tell you if you find their criticism consistent.

Tune in next week for the final part of this series. I will be discussing how to keep your online business successful over the long run.

About Dr. Karen Ratliff

Karen Ratliff

Credit: Dr. Karen Ratliff

Dr. Ratliff is a certified life coach and professional educator, assisting many people in accomplishing financial, career, and educational goals.  She is also the author of “Tightening Your Bootstraps: 104 Tips to Kick Your Debt to the Curb Now.” Keep up with her budgetary advice via Twitter @drkarenratliff  her website at www.drkarenratliff.com, and her facebook fanpage “Financially Focused with Dr. Karen Ratliff.”