Building an Online Business – Phase 1 – Planning

Developing an online business can be a very frustrating experience. If you don’t have a solid, easy to follow plan it is very hard to succeed. Like starting a normal brick-and-mortar business, developing and building your online business requires a solid plan. The plan helps you break everything down into small, easily completed phases.
The plan you choose must include the following phases:

  1. Planning Your Online Business
  2. Getting a Website Designed and Developed
  3. Setting up an E-Commerce Shopping Cart
  4. CRM (Customer Relations Management)
  5. Getting Your Website Indexed in the Search Engines
  6. Online Advertising
  7. Email Marketing
  8. Start a Blog and/or Forum
  9. Social Networking
  10. Go to Step 1

The order of the above phases is only a suggestion. The is order is up to you, but each of them should be implemented.
Your website is the foundation of your entire online business so naturally it should go after your planning phase. Each of the other phases supports the website like the pillars of ancient Greek temple that has remained standing for thousands of years. Each of the phases has its own unique purpose and is equally important. The last phase, phase 10, is simply restarting and redefining your online business strategy. Managing your online business is a continuous process. Over the next few weeks we will discussing each of these phases in greater detail.

Phase 1 : Planning Your Online Business I am sure you have heard of the old saying “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” That is entirely the point of developing a plan – TO NOT FAIL. A plan takes all of the guesswork out of the equation. If you follow a detailed plan, developing your online business will be a very fun and rewarding experience.

This phase can be broken down into three steps.

  1. Writing Your Plan Objective
  2. Determine Your Goals
  3. Do Research and Write Your Plan

The first step of developing a plan is writing a Plan Objective (or overview). A Plan Objective, in this case, simply states what it is your online business will do and accomplish. This statement is not detailed and should no more than two or three sentences. If, while developing your plan, you start to go astray of your objective you can either redefine your objective or rewrite your plan.
Example Plan Objective:

“To build an extension of our brick-and-mortar business to compete in the online marketplace.”

The second step is determining what your goals are that support your Plan Objective. Again these are not very detailed descriptions, but simply describe how it is you are going to go about satisfying your Plan Objective. You can have as many goals as you like but always remember the K.I.S.S. system – Keep It Simple, Stupid. Keep it simple enough for somebody you know that knows nothing about your business can easily understand what you are hoping to accomplish.

The third and last step in developing a plan is doing research on the tools and resources you need to reach your Plan Objective. Since your are trying to build an online business, you will need tools and resources to support it.

  • What specifically will you need to get a website, be able to edit that website (CMS), keep track of your customers (CRM), inventory and orders (E-Commerce)?
  • How do I get my website indexed in the search engines?
  • How do I advertise on the internet?
  • What do you need to be able to create a blog or forum or create an email marketing campaign?
  • Will you have to hire more staff to handle the online portion of your business?
  • What are the best social networking website on the internet?
  • How much will all of this cost per month/year?

Be as descriptive as possible when you write step 3. Lay everything out and leave no question unanswered. Once you have step 3 completed, you will be ready to head on to the next phase of developing a successful online business, designing and developing a professionally done website.

Our next post will be about designing and developing your own website. It will include some tips on how to get it done and some traps to look out for. Please subscribe to this blog so you can get all of the details.

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Business Loan for New Business: What Are Your Options? Which Organization Should You Consider?

Money is the one thing all start up businesses need in order to get going, yet it is the one thing that most start up businesses have trouble obtaining. From a lender’s point of view, this is a risky investment. What company wants to lend thousands of dollars to a new business that hasn’t even earned revenue yet? Where can you turn to in order to get a business loan for new business?

There has been an increase in alternative lending in recent years, such as Crowd Funding, but it requires a lot of hard work to reach your goal.

It’s important to understand the different types of loans available for start up businesses. There are some options that vary depending on your needs, specific terms, length of the loan and so forth. For a new business, look for financing that is aimed specifically to new companies with little to no financial history, such as a business credit card, SBA microloan, grant, and so forth.

Before you apply for a business loan for new business, you need to make sure you choose a reliable lender. There are obviously a lot of scams out there that try to take advantage of new business owners. Read a lender’s BBB page and reviews to learn more about it. How many recent complaints have there been? Have they all been resolved? How long has the lender been around?

Legitimate Lenders for a Business Loan for New Business

If you think a lender is legitimate, you’ll need to prove your fundability. Since you probably don’t yet have a business history, you’ll need to create a really good plan that shows the strength of your model and dedication to succeed and grow your company. The plan must detail the goals. Your financial projections should be made clear. Lenders will want to know exactly how you plan to make money.

You might be required to offer collateral – especially if you have no prior business experience or business credit history. This could be your vehicle, piece of property, house, or any other item of value you own. Unless you have a really genius, innovative idea, you likely won’t be able to qualify for a high amount for a start up loan, as they are usually given at relatively small amounts. Still, any money you can get will be helpful.

However, there are some lenders who are more flexible with their requirements and willing to work with you. One organization to consider working with is US Business Funding, which has a good reputation for its flexibility and fast, straightforward application process. Get a free quote on a business loan for new business.