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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