Online businesses are progressively surpassing regular offline businesses thanks to the ever expanding World Wide Web. According to a Pew Internet Research report published in 2013, more than 85% of adults in the United States regularly surf on the internet. They majorly use it for social networking and shopping- with 97% of consumers, through Google’s ecommerce research conducted in 2013, claiming that they use the internet to search for products and services. Through an infographic published in 2015, Nextopia further accentuates this issue byrevealing that 62% of consumers are always willing to complete their purchases online, largely because of increased convenience.
With such a ready market, the internet is considered the single most expansive and promising platform for entrepreneurs to build their respective businesses. Sadly, only a small fraction of business owners recognize the power of the web. According to Google’s ecommerce research report, more than 58% of small businesses are yet to establish a website. That leaves about 40% of small businesses with the power of leveraging the internet’s increasing potential. But then again, less than a quarter of them are implementing the requisite strategies to comprehensively capture their target market.
Going by these statistics, it’s evident that the internet is severely underutilized. There are still plenty of opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to establish themselves and subsequently build empires. So, where should you begin? How can you find sustainable business opportunities and subsequently build your own brand?
Find a Need to Fill
It’s a common mistake for unseasoned entrepreneurs to focus on the product first before embarking on the market. To increase your chances of business success, consider beginning with the latter before embarking on the former. Comprehensively assess your market to identify current and growing needs, then subsequently devise a solution that you’ll sell in form of products and/or services.
Since the needs you identify will form your business foundation, you need to only focus on the most critical ones that that are in sync with your personal interests. That means evaluating yourself too to determine solutions that go along with your skills and expertise. If this process proves to be a little complicated, you could seek help from Google Consumer Surveys to comprehend what most consumers are after. In case you identify a need that’s already being met, you could consider developing better solutions than your future potential competitor.
Analyze How Others Solve Problems
Everywhere you go, you’re probably surrounded by many problems or needs which other entrepreneurs have tried solving through online solutions. By paying close attention to the detail, you’ll grasp sufficient information and tips which could subsequently help you identify additional opportunities and ultimately set up a business.
Observe how ecommerce sites are organizing their business- their website designs, customer interaction, marketing strategies and competition countering measures. The consequent ideas you get could be used to further refine your opportunities and position yourself even better as you prepare to start a business. In some cases, you could identify a business problem, consequently establishing a B2B type of business to address them.
Proceed With Caution
The internet is as diverse the standard market. It extends to both extremes- good and false opportunities. Since online based fraudsters and conmen understand the rat race of business very well, they’re fond of preying on desperate individuals seeking to monetize online opportunities. It’s therefore advisable to proceed with caution especially when:
- You are required to pay an upfront fee just to gain access to a business opportunity. Most of the scams even require you to recruit other naïve ‘members’.
- You are required to pay a regular fixed amount of cash on your ‘membership’ regardless of whether you make money or not.
- The opportunities presented to you do not have sufficient background information and backing
- There are guarantees of making a lot of money in a relatively short period of time. For instance, you may be attracted by an ad requiring you to sign up and make USD 10,000 per week possibly just by liking a few pages on social media.
- You can’t trace genuine members who’re actually benefitting from the said ‘promising opportunity’.
Many entrepreneurs are fond of seeking opportunities by casting a wide net, possibly trying to capture as many prospective customers as possible. Taking this principle too literally however, could eventually cost you your business. Although it’s advisable to be aggressive, it’s equally important to be strategic and calculative by starting small. That means mapping your opportunities and business by focusing only on the core elements.
Mapping your resources and dedicating them to a specific target market is a much more effective strategy, especially to small businesses, than splitting the resources between unspecified goals for an indefinitely wide market. One of the methods of achieving this is focusing on your location first before growing to spread your products and services to the rest of the world. Since mapping strategies depend on the type of business, resources and consumer needs, you should comprehensively assess these three elements as you define your opportunities.
Assess Your Resources
Lastly, analyze your resources, both offline and online, to understand your capabilities in terms of the opportunities and business types you may be able to handle. Although you could eventually begin compiling additional resources after setting up your business, your current resources greatly dictate your ability. Having technical expertise in one type of business for instance, could significantly boost your chances in that specific industry compared to other businesses.
As you make up your mind on online businesses to pursue, remember to build sufficient resilience, especially against failure. Although failures may pull you back resource-wise, they are good learning experiences. If you fail therefore, you should have the strength and determination to dust yourself and proceed with other ventures- after all, each business is a risk, with a potential of failing or succeeding. What makes the difference is how you manage your risks.