The Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business: The Latest Strategies and Advice on How To Start a Profitable Internet Business

The Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business: The Latest Strategies and Advice on How To Start a Profitable Internet Business

by Randall Craig

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The Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business: The Latest Strategies and Advice on How To Start a Profitable Internet Business by Randall Craig

Create and run your own virtual business!

Whether it is a full-time online consulting business or just selling your crafts on the side, starting an Internet enterprise is a very appealing prospect to a budding entrepreneur! The Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business is the perfect guide as you navigate the online market—no matter your experience level. From developing an idea to sharing it with the world, this expert manual provides information on:

  • Determining what kind of business to create
  • Developing a smart business plan and online presence
  • Transitioning from brick and mortar to the virtual world
  • Using vendor sites like Etsy
  • Promoting the business with social media

Perfect for part-time entrepreneurs who want to make some extra cash or for full-timers who want one income stream, The Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business will help you get your businesses off the ground and onto the web!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440555312
Publisher: Adams Media
Publication date: 12/18/2012
Series: Everything
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,005,468
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Randall Craig is an experienced Internet entrepreneur, consultant, and executive advisor. He has founded and sold several successful online startups, held a long-time position at a "big-four" consulting firm, and was an executive at an American public company. Craig has been advising on web strategy since 1994: he put the Toronto Star online, along with the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations' internet-based businesses. He lives in Toronto.

Table of Contents

Top 10 Tips You'll Learn about Online Business 10

Introduction 11

01 Setting the Stage! 13

Self-Evaluation 14

Pros of Starting Your Own Business 15

Cons of Starting Your Own Business 16

Before You Start 18

The Upside of a Down Economy 19

Know What You Don't Know 21

Think Like a Businessperson 23

Talk to the Experts 25

Plan Your Exit Strategy Now 26

02 How Much Time Will You Spend? 27

Make Money in Your Spare Time 28

Building an Entire Business Operation 30

Hybrid Offline-Online Businesses 33

03 When Opportunity Knocks 35

The Upside to Downsizing 36

Your Idea, Someone Else's Know-How 38

Taking the Family Business Reins 38

Business Brokers Shop for You 40

Know What's Hot 40

04 Meet the Expert: You 42

Highlight Your Track Record 43

Licenses and Certifications 44

Advanced Degrees 44

How Many Letters Do You Need after Your Name? 45

Get on the Speaker Circuit 46

Blog Your Way to the Head of the Pack 47

05 Finding That Killer Idea 49

All You Need Is One Great Idea 50

Make Sure Your Idea Can Be Profitable 51

Buy a Proven Winner 52

06 Networking 54

Join Your Tribe 55

Civic Organizations 56

Associations and Organizations 57

Industry Awards 57

Professional Networking Groups 58

Volunteering as a Strategy to Meet New Customers 59

Social Networking Sites 60

07 Researching the Market 63

Conducting Market Research 64

Assessing Your Potential Market 65

Industry Trends 66

Scout Out the Competition 68

Find Your Niche 68

Name Your Business 70

Domain Names 72

08 Online Businesses 75

Business Acronyms 76

Online Product Sales 76

Online Services Sales 77

Information Marketing 77

E-Mail Course Delivery 78

Online App Sales 78

Membership Sites 79

Online Service Marketplaces 80

09 Working "in" the Web Machine 85

Web Design 86

Web Development 88

Content/Writing/Blogging/Tweeting 90

Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing 93

Training 96

Setting Fees 98

10 Caution-Online on the Edge 101

Fraud 102

Spam 105

Unethical Practices 106

Know Your Moral Compass 108

11 Structuring Your Business 109

Partnerships 110

Sole Proprietorships 112

Corporations 113

Limited Liability Company 116

Joint Ventures 117

Get Tax Advice Now! 118

12 Crafting a Business Plan 121

How to Know If You Need a Business Plan 122

Getting Ready 123

A Step-by-Step Guide 124

Financial Plan 131

Reviewing and Tweaking Your Plan 132

13 Get Your Capital Act Together 134

Finance Basics 135

How to Get Start-Up Cash 136

Venture Capital-Know All Your Options 137

Silent (or Not-So-Silent) Partners 139

Opening Funding Doors in Any Economy 140

Personal Credit Scores Matter 141

Prove Your Business to Be Loan-Worthy 142

Good Documents Are Gold 143

14 Put a Financing Plan in Place 145

Traditional Loan Offerings 146

Special Loan Programs 146

Loan Sources Other Than Banks 147

Vendors 147

How Soon to Profitability? 148

When You Have the Money in Hand 150

15 Regulations and Legal Matters 151

Licensing and Regulations 152

Inspections 153

Zoning Ordinances 153

Leases 154

Fictitious Name Forms 155

Trademarks, Patents, and Copyrights 156

Agencies, Agreements, and Regulations 157

Privacy, Age Restrictions, and Digital Rights 158

16 Locating Your Business 160

The Right Space 161

Storefront Businesses 162

Office Space 162

Manufacturing and Warehouse Space 163

Home-Based Businesses 164

Shared Services 165

17 Furnishings and Equipment 167

Assessing Your Needs 168

Comfort and Layout 169

Telephone Systems 170

Cost-Effective Decisions 171

Cost-Cutting Ideas 172

Technology-Get Up to Speed 173

18 Building Your Online Presence 179

What Is Your Site's Purpose? 180

Building a Website 181

Hiring a Professional Web Designer 182

Ten Tips for a Site That Sells 185

Web Hosting 186

Domain Names-Again 187

Preparing to Launch Your Site 188

19 The Laws of Website Attraction 191

Start with Market Research 192

Identifying Your Target Market 194

Reaching Your Market 195

Publicity 203

Search Engine Marketing: Bidding for Keywords and Clicks 204

SEO: Search Engine Optimization 205

Social Media Marketing: Power and Pitfalls 207

Link Exchanges 211

QR Codes 211

Posting in Forums and Groups 212

Offline Marketing 213

20 Selling Online 215

Service Business 216

Retail Sales 217

Get Linked with Compatible Sites 218

Auction Sales 218

Payment Options 220

Shopping Cart Concepts 221

Credit Card Gateways 223

21 Advanced Concepts: Converting Browsers to Buyers 225

Conversion 226

Landing Pages 228

Copywriting Tips 230

Squeeze Pages 232

Pop-Ups 233

Chat 233

Cross-Selling and Up-Selling 234

22 Customer Relationship Management 235

Capturing Nonbuyers 236

E-Mail Marketing 237

Marketing Automation 239

Opportunity Management 240

Play Fair When Getting Your Online Customers 240

23 Product and Services Management 242

Nimble Inventory Management 243

Product Procurement 243

Pricing Your Goods and Services 246

Services 248

Automated Fulfillment and Supply Chain 249

24 Employees: Choose Well, Manage Well 251

Prepping Before Hiring 252

Where to Find Your Staff 253

Staff Alternatives: Contractors, Freelancers, and Interns 255

Interviewing Candidates 256

Running Background Checks 258

Outsourcing 259

Virtual Assistants 261

Attracting and Keeping Great Employees 263

Establishing Rules and Policies 264

Show Them the Money-and Benefits 265

Letting People Go-Know the Law 266

25 Bookkeeping, Record Keeping, and Administrative Tasks 268

Good Records Keep Things Going Smoothly 269

Establish Bookkeeping Procedures 269

Keeping Track of Your Business 271

Choosing Accounting Software 273

Record Keeping and Administrative Needs 273

Who Should Do the Administrative Duties? 274

26 Insurance and Tax Information 276

What You Need to Pay and When 277

Proper Deductions Help Profits 277

Employment Taxes 279

Tax Planning with a Pro 281

Insurance and Risk Management 281

Evaluating Your Insurance Needs 283

Appendix A A Winner's Checklist-Tips and Tricks 287

Customer Service 288

Make Relationships the Highest Priority 288

Employee Development 288

Stay Abreast of Industry Changes 288

Make Your Company a Leader 289

Monitor Cash Flow 289

Planned Expansion 289

No One Knows Your Business Better Than You 290

Hold On to Your Sanity 290

Know When to Hold, Know When to Fold 290

Appendix B Case Templates 291

Making a Few Dollars on the Side 292

Building a Business All Online 292

Moving a "Real World" Business to the Web 293

Appendix C Additional Resources 296

Government and Association Sites 297

Other Reference Sites 297

Index 299

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