In the era of booming e-commerce and digital entrepreneurship, starting your own online business has become a very tempting opportunity. There are relatively low barriers to entry and most skills can be learnt online in a short space of time.
If you’re considering launching an online business in Ireland, you’re in the right place. Around Finance is a leading online accounting firm in Ireland. We work closely with a number of ecommerce businesses and other online operators in Ireland. The steps below will help kick start your online business journey.
Steps To Start Your Online Business
1. Identify Your Niche
You’ll start with an advantage if you pinpoint a unique niche to target. Research the market to uncover gaps, trends, and opportunities. Look at your personal life and work experience to see if there’s a niche that makes obvious sense for you to target.
For example, if you’ve worked in the dentistry field doing marketing for dentists, starting your own online marketing agency that specialises in that niche could be a logical step.
By going after a niche you have the opportunity to become an expert in that field, rather than a generalist. Experts are able to serve their customers better, find cost efficiencies in their operations and charge higher prices.
2. Create A Business Plan
A well-crafted business plan will outline your objectives, target audience, opportunities and threats, marketing strategies, and financial projections. It will also help you to determine your business structure, define your brand identity, and set realistic goals. Your business plan will guide you through each stage of your online business journey and serve as a roadmap for success.
If you have little to no experience with this, it’s advisable to speak to an experienced CFO and accountant who can make sure you get this part right.
3. Legal Obligations
Register your business with the Companies Registration Office (CRO) and obtain the necessary licences and permits for your type of activities.
4. Financial Obligations
You’ll need to familiarise yourself with tax obligations, including VAT and income tax. It’s a good idea to speak to a firm that specialises in accounting and tax services for online businesses to ensure compliance.
You should put clear financial systems and bookkeeping practices in place from day one so that this key area of your business remains controlled as you grow.
5. Pricing Strategies
You’ll need to decide how you’re going to price your products or services.
If you’re starting an ecommerce business choose an ecommerce pricing strategy that best suits your business model. Around Finance can help you through this process if you need additional guidance. Here’s a few key points:
- Cost-plus pricing: Cost-plus pricing is a straightforward approach where the price of a product or service is determined by adding a markup to the production or service cost. It ensures that costs are covered and desired profit margins are achieved.
- Value-based pricing: Value-based pricing revolves around establishing prices that align with the perceived worth of a product or service in the eyes of the customer. It focuses on capturing the value that customers are willing to pay, taking into account factors such as benefits, quality, and differentiation.
- Psychological pricing: Psychological pricing utilises pricing strategies that appeal to customers’ emotions and perception. It often involves setting prices just below round numbers (e.g., $9.99 instead of $10) to create a perception of a lower price and increase customer appeal.
- Dynamic pricing: Dynamic pricing refers to the practice of adjusting prices in real-time based on various factors such as demand, market conditions, customer behaviour, and competitor pricing. It allows businesses to optimise pricing to maximise revenue and respond to changing market dynamics.
- Bundle pricing: Bundle pricing involves offering multiple products or services together as a package at a discounted price compared to buying them individually. It encourages customers to make larger purchases, increases perceived value, and promotes cross-selling.
6. Set-up Your Presence Online
Establishing a strong online presence is essential for any online business. Register a domain name that aligns with your brand and secure reliable web hosting. Build an attractive and user-friendly website that showcases your products or services and incorporates compelling content.
If you’re running an e-commerce business there are a number of platforms like Shopify and Amazon that offer most of these functions for you. You should also use search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques to make sure that your website is visible.
7. Establish Your Presence Online
Once you’re set up, you need to build and establish a strong brand presence. This takes time and consistency. A well-defined marketing strategy is vital.
Identify the channels that your target audience uses and make sure you use them. There are a number of ways to promote your online business – social media, content marketing, email marketing, SEO, webinars advertising, etc. Start with one and do it well. Then expand into other channels as you become more competent. Remember to be patient with yourself. There’s a lot of competition online so establishing your business will take time, skill and consistency.
8. Build Trust
Good customer relationships are vital for the success of your online business. There are a few simple things that you can do upfront that will give potential clients the confidence to work with you. These can include: secure payment gateways, encrypted customer data, clear data usage policies, client testimonials and any relevant certificates or accreditation.
You should make it a goal to provide exceptional customer service, respond promptly to enquiries, and prioritise customer satisfaction. Strong customer relationships will drive repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals.
9. Adapt & Evolve
The online business landscape is always changing. If you want your online business to succeed you’ll need to become good at staying up-to-date with industry trends, advancements in technology, and shifts in consumer behaviour. As an example, the AI evolution could potentially change how online businesses market themselves and sell their products or services in the very near future. Embrace innovation and remain adaptable to seize new opportunities as they arise.
Work With The Best Online Accountant In Ireland
Are you ready to get started with your online business in Ireland? With an experienced online accountant by your side, you’ll be at an advantage. Your finances will be in good hands and you’ll have access to highly experienced advice for online business owners.
Get started by booking a free consultation with us today.