Setting up on the internet need not be complicated and there's plenty of business advice and business support out there. But planning before you get started is vital.
The number one thing you can do to get visitors to your site and develop a customer base is to give something away for free: a product or service, expert advice, free delivery.
- An e-business niche: where are the gaps in the market? Look at what your competitors are doing. What sells well online? Things that are cheaper than on the high street, difficult to find and easier to buy online. Who's your target audience, what do they really want and why would they want to visit your website?
- The online marketplace: the online marketplace is not like the high street. Potential customers share information about online products and services using blogs, social media and online reviews. How can you attract them? Look at websites you like to see what they are doing right - making it easy for customers to find what they are looking for, for example. Look at how they use the internet to really interact with customers and potential customers.
- A business plan:
if you need start-up funding, get some advice on small business finance. You need a business plan even if you simply want to know how your e-business is doing. A good business plan will help you work out how you'll meet your goals and should describe your business, its objectives and strategies, the market you're in and financial forecasts.
Have a look at Business Link's guide to creating, and implementing, a clear and realistic plan.