December 19, 2008
The economy is down, we’re in probably the worst financial crisis since the great depression, and unemployment is shooting through the roof. Sounds like the worst time to start an online business right? Wrong! 2009 could be the perfect time to start a business if you are smart about it. Here’s the reasons why:
It’s Easy to do
Starting an online business is simple to do. It’s not like starting a normal business. It doesn’t take as much money or time to create an online business. There are many different ways to make money online including retail stores, affiliate advertising, creating a successful blog, article writing, or website/graphic design etc. All those ideas are legitimate online businesses that have made a ton of money for a ton of people who are doing what they love. You can even create a successful online business in your spare time. You don’t have to quit your day job to be a success.
Creating a website is extremely cheap compared to starting up a store or office. Even if you don’t design your website yourself you can pay someone else to do it and you can get it done cheap by free lancers through sites like Guru.com. After you get your site designed you will need to pick a domain name. You’re going to want to pick a domain name that relates to what you are selling. After that you will need to pick a web host. Web hosting is a service that takes all the files that make up your website and stores them on a server that is connected up to the internet 24/7/365. From their users will be able to access your website all the time. You can find reliable web hosting for $10-$20 a month, (Learn How to Pick the Right Web Host). After initial start up costs, the cost of maintaining a website are very small which allows you to be very profitable. All the choices you have to make here are extremely important ones for your site, but they can all be very cheap.
Creating a Website is Easy Now!
You don’t have to know HTML to create a good looking website now. Using programs like Adobe Dreamweaver allows you to create the design of your website and it creates the HTML that goes along with the design. There are simple tutorials all over the internet that tell you how to create a website. You can use sites like Yahoo’s Site Builder to drag and drop pictures to design your website. If you wanted to create a blog you can use free blog hosting sites like Google’s Blogger and create a blog in minutes.
E-commerce is Succeeding even in a Down Economy
While regular brick & mortar stores are struggling to even stay in business, e-commerce business is growing. According to the Department of Commerce U.S. Retail E-commerce sales numbers are up all around. The 2nd Quarter of 2008 saw $34.6 billion in sales which was a 2.9% increase from the 1st quarter and a 9.5% increase from the second quarter of 2007. Just recently on “Cyber Monday” (the online world’s “black Friday”) the online world saw another positive sign, consumers spent $846 billion on cyber Monday which was an increase of 15% over 2007’s cyber Monday.
Marketing is better/faster/more measurable online
Marketing online is all around better online. There’s an estimated 1.5 billion people who use the internet worldwide. That’s 21.9% of the world’s population. It has grown 305% from 2000-2008 and that number will only continue to grow as the populations in emerging markets like China, the Middle East, and Africa continue to get modernized. The Internet is a force that you cannot ignore. There’s a lot of people that use the internet and the great news is they are easy to reach and easy to target. A survey by Hearst Electronics Group and Goldstein Group of business to business marketers showed that the “migration of communications budgets from traditional media to online has accelerated to the point where nearly half of all spending, 47 percent, is spent on online marketing techniques today.” The businesses are doing that for a reason, they can track their marketing methods online a lot easier so they can understand what their ROI is and decide where to put the money. Also it is easier to target people online than it is in the real world so it takes less money to make more sales. Some of the ways to advertise online include search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click ads, article marketing, blogging. All but the pay per click ads can be free. SEO is the technical term for optimizing your site and link building with the goal of getting to the top spot in search engines for a certain keyword. This is important for the success of your online business because the majority of online users use search engines like Google to find what they are looking for. Being at the top spot in Google gets you the most traffic for the cheapest amount….free! There are tons of easy and cheap ways to market your website online.
I touched on this in the previous paragraph but this deserves more attention. Tracking how your business is doing in all aspects is important, no matter what type of business you have. When I say tracking your business I mean figuring out if you are putting your dollars in the right place. If users are leaving your site right away (a term called “bouncing”) maybe it’s because your site is not user friendly so you must re-design your website, if users are reading the content of your site but then leaving during the check out process maybe it’s time for a new shopping cart, it’s also important to know where your users are coming from and where they are going. You can tell all of this by using analytics software that you can get online. Google Analytics is perhaps the best program that you can use to track your website and the best part is it’s completely free. All it involves is placing code that Google provides you on every page that you want the program to track. On a daily basis you can check to see how many people visited your site, what they looked at, how they came to your site, how long they stayed, where they exited from, and most importantly if they were a conversion and how they got there. That type of measurability is critical to any business and that and so much more is possible online.
Starting in a Bad Economy is a Good Thing!
Starting up a business in a bad economy can be a good thing if you are passionate about what you are doing. As Paul Graham pointed out in his essay the economy does not necessarily affect a startup it is the founders that make or break the company. Just ask Bill Gates of Microsoft or Steve Jobs of Apple both of which were started in the terrible economy of the 1970’s. A down economy is an opportunity if looked at in the right light, by opportunistic entrepreneurs. A down economy means less competition, more companies/people looking to make deals, people looking for ways to save. It has become a well known fact that online is the place to get deals on just about anything you need. Retailers offering aggressive online discounts this year were able to increase sales from last year because they were able to adjust to a down economy because of the flexibility of online business. Online businesses are cheap to start up and cheap to maintain, those saving get passed onto the customer in the form of great discounts. At the same time do not ignore the economy creating a website that shows people creative ways to save money would be a great site in a down economy, or a debt consolidation website, or shop and compare sites, or a community forum that lets people share the best deals. There are countless opportunities waiting to be filled in the online world.
It’s About Time You Start Doing What You Want to Do!
Who doesn’t want to own their own business? You get to be your own boss, make your own hours, and feel the joy of successfully having your own company. If you’re tired of your job or even just want to turn your hobby into a profitable venture an online business is the way to go. The best part is it does not have to take over your entire life. With an online business you can do a lot of the work in a short amount of time which means you do not necessarily have to quit your day job. Do you like writing? Become a blogger, blogging is the hot thing in the online world right now and it takes all of 5 minutes to create a blog on blogger and not too much more time to create your own site with a WordPress themed blog. You can write what you feel like writing about and make money doing it. Do you like a certain topic and you know a bunch of other people do? Why not start an online forum about it, that’s a great way to do what you want and profit off of it. There are plenty of businesses out there and an online business is the easiest way to get started.
As you can see there are great reasons to start an online business in 2009. It’s the easiest, cheapest, fastest way to start your own business and it’s a growing market that basically anyone can be successful in, if your passionate about what you are doing. Make 2009 your year to start an online business, Get out there and Get Started.
Steve Quatrani is the founder and operations manager of RebateRabbit.com. A site which aims to help all those starting an online business choose the right web hosting company by being educated. Rebaterabbit.com Also provides hosting rebates to make all hosting Inexpensive web hosting