Due to the rapid growth of the recent technologies and ecommerce platforms, starting and owning an online business is becoming easier and more convenient each day.

And unlike before, owning an online business with no money is truly possible.

The fact is, as long as you could encourage yourself to take action and start your own business, the road ahead would seem less daunting.

Who is an online business owner exactly?

The person (or persons, if there are more than one) who is responsible for financial and operational aspects of an online business, is called an online business owner.

Basically, there is not a fundamental difference between owning an online business and a regular, brick-and-mortar one. The main difference is just the fact that online business processes mainly occur through the web, whereas the physical business operations mostly occur offline.

There are several other titles which people sometimes use to refer to a business owner. Some of these include business director, principal, president, CEO (or chief executive officer), founder, and proprietor.

According to the Business Formation Stats by the US Census Bureau, over the last years business applications have been on a constant rise, on a monthly basis.

Even after the recent pandemic of COVID-19, the rise has become sharper, showing an increasingly ongoing request throughout the US to start and own a business.

What’s the difference between a business owner and an entrepreneur?

Although most people often use the words “entrepreneur” and “business owner” instead of each other, technically, they don’t have the same exact meanings.

Let’s first take a look at the similarities which are so many. The main concept is common among both business owners and entrepreneurs, which is creating a business of their own.

There are even some common factors which might influence their approach and  mindset when deciding to launch a business such as family and social support, access to required resources, enough self-confidence, personal ambitions, risk-taking capabilities, and more importantly, taking advantage of opportunities.

On the other hand, the main differences between the two groups of entrepreneurs and business owners are in the following fields:

  • Growth: it’s not unusual to see super quick growth from entrepreneurs whereas business owners tend to expand their businesses more slowly over time.
  • Innovation: this is usually the key concept behind many ideas which then entrepreneurs develop to start and build a business around. On the other hand, most online business owners simply try to be successful at taking already-tested principles and concepts to action to their own benefit.
  • Motivation: entrepreneurs often would like to test new methods for doing things and develop innovative business ideas which might end up becoming successful company. But business owners are usually more fond of becoming independent in their working and career, and having more financial freedom.

What are the different types of business ownership?

All rewards and challenges of launching a business aside, when you decide to work on the legal part of your business, it’s important to decide on a right business ownership for it.

It’s also important in terms of acquiring capital for your company, that is if necessary, your liabilities, taxation, and so on.

So, in order to know more about the structure of your business you could take a look at the following types of business ownership:

  • LLC (or Limited Liability Company): LLC is a business type which could be described as a hybrid of a corporation and partnership. In other words, it gets liability protections which are usually available in a corporation business type and combines it with business partnership.
  • Corporation: when people want to get involved in business activities but at the same time would prefer to protect themselves against potential liabilities, they make advantage of corporation business type. In addition, the amount of tax paid in this type is often different from other types of business ownerships.
  • Partnership: simply put, when more than one owners want to legally share a business, they’d start a business partnership. Before requesting this type of business, one of the important things that the owners need to agree upon is the percentages which the new business is going to be divided into.
  • Sole proprietorship: the easiest way to start and manage a business is, of course, when doing it personally, which is usually without any extra paperwork. In this situation there is no distinction between the person and the business from a legal point of view, since the business is unincorporated.

Make sure to learn more about different aspects and details of each of these business types, along with their advantages and disadvantages, before deciding to select any of them for your online business.

Of course, the right business ownership for you depends on many factors including the business model you have in mind, the number of owners, any partners you have, your business capital and so on.

Also, learn more about the state/country rules and laws regarding starting and owning an online business, and whether there are any specific licenses or permits which you have to get before setting up your business.

Become an online business owner (step by step)

Now that you’ve decided on your type of ownership for your new business, let’s continue by discussing the following steps to become an owner for your online business:

1. Find a business idea

There are so many people with a variety of business ideas that might sound new, innovative or revolutionary.

In fact, these days with so many new entrepreneurs and self-employed people, or those who want to be in those groups, at least, it’s actually difficult to not hear a bunch of new ideas for starting a business every few days or so.

So, then why we don’t see as many successful businesses around as well?

Why are so many business ideas unsuccessful?

Or, as a better question, why so few of these ideas make their way to the execution step, let alone becoming a successful business in reality?

In general, one of the key issues with most of the business ideas that aren’t going to be winning ones in the next phases is that they aren’t related to the market. In other words, either they don’t address a real problem in the market, or even if they do, they don’t do it the right way.

That’s because if you look around you, you could easily see that most successful business ideas satisfy a need or resolve a real issue in the lives of their target market.

How to come up with a profitable business idea

To evaluate your business ideas and choose one which is profitable and successful, you need to pay attention to the following points:

  • Market research: the more you understand your target customers, the more you’re thorough in your market research. To ease up the process, you could consider answering these questions about your market: “what are their biggest challenges?”, “what does a great service mean to them”, “which social medias they use?”, and so on.
  • Study the competition: the chances are your solution to some issue in the market isn’t much different than what is already available. In that case, you don’t have much competitive advantage when you become a business owner with that business idea in action. That’s why you need to fully evaluate your competitors first and then offer a service or product which is better than of theirs in some way or another.

2. Prepare your business plan

After having a business idea, it’s time to write your business plan. In this step, your idea for an online business, takes one step closer to becoming a real product or service which is able to be offered to your clients or customers.

Having realistic goals for your business and finding out the amount of capital or funding you need to start and manage your business in the early stages (i.e. the first year for example) is crucial in this step.

In addition, figuring out the following items could help you have a ready business plan as quicker and simpler as possible.

  • The competitive advantage of your online business
  • Your marketing strategies
  • Your sales strategies

It often happens that some business owners in this step realize that their target market is too wide because of the heavy competition. That’s why they try to make it easier to start by narrowing down their niche. You could do so as well, if necessary.

Use a business plan template

There are so many places on the web which you could find and download a template for your business plan.

The good things about this ready business plans is that they usually have most content written according to your business topic. So, all you need to do is just filling up the blanks and making changes where necessary.

Another good advice in this stage would be to search around in the search engines to learn how similar companies have written their business plans.

3. Get started with marketing

As soon as you feel you know enough about your target customers, and your product or service is ready to market, you could start with your marketing strategies.

But the first item needed here is a marketing channel. It could be something as simple as an Instagram or Facebook page, or a page in other social media or marketplaces for that matter.

But if you want to look professional in the eyes of your customer from the start, you should invest in having a professional website which could meet the ecommerce needs of your online business.

4. Be a business owner even with no money

One of the biggest misunderstandings about starting a business is that some people think they need plenty of money or a huge amount of capital to get started.

That’s simply not true. Even if you just have enough money to feed your family and pay your bills, you could still hope that you could start your own business with minimum budget.

Aside from methods to get some extra cash for your company, like applying for a business loan or asking family and friends, you could save up the little money you need to subscribe to the ecommerce platform to sell your products, for a dropshipping business for instance.

Think of temporary remote jobs. These days, many companies are looking to hire employees which could work remotely.

Specifically, find out about the part-time jobs which could fit your schedule, if you’re currently employed or aren’t able to work full-time for some reason.

Also, there are many marketplaces and websites which you could offer your services or products for minimum or no fee. Use them until you have enough to build your own ecommerce website.

Best tools and platforms for ecommerce and business marketing

There are so many ecommerce platforms which could help you have a business website in no time.

Shopify, Squarespace and Wix are among the top choices for ecommerce websites and online stores.

They provide you a huge number of design themes which you could select from for your online business, and other design tools which could further help you edit and customize your webpages.

Also, to manage your other marketing channels, like the ones in Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and other social media networks, you could take use of specific social media management tools such as Sprout Social or Hootsuite.

And don’t forget to focus on building email lists of your audience and potential customers by doing the email marketing the right way. HubSpot and MailChimp are just two of the best email marketing tools which could you use to grow and manage your subscribers.

Moreover, if your business is ready for paid advertising financially, you could consider trying Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or so many other methods to attract paid visitors to your online business website.

How to become a successful online business owner

1. Provide value as much as you could

Instead of selling to others, serve others. This key rule could take your business so much further ahead in the game if you take action on it properly.

From the first steps in owning your business and thinking about new online business ideas, focus on how you could offer value by selling a product or providing a service.

The more you try to help people solve their problems or become successful in their businesses/lives the more your business progresses. And, as a result, your revenue and profit build up too.

2. Have a plan for succession or … exit

In the real world, all businesses might come to a point at which you, as an owner, may need to pass it to other people as your successors or sell it altogether.

That’s why you should have some kind of succession plan or an exit strategy within your company, so that all you hard work and business legacy won’t go away in case of unexpected situations.

3. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes

One of the most important lessons for every business is how to consider the point of view of their clients or customers. Try to think it this way: what kind of treatment would you expect if you were the client and the owner was someone else?

With just that piece of advice in your mind when doing everything from pricing and sales to marketing and shipping, you’d have a better chance of getting more and more loyal customers for your online business.

4. Be kind to your staff

Try to think of your business team as the group of people who without them you most likely wouldn’t have the chance to grow your company as you wish. So, ask yourself how you should appreciate them as they deserve.

In other words, try to be as valuable to them as they are to you and your online business.

5. Try to do what you love, or at least, try to love what you do

Many business experts and consultants might even go as far as to say that you shouldn’t start a business in a niche or industry you don’t love, or at least like. The reason is that although you might end up being a successful business owner when doing things only in regards to financial goals, but the fact is that most people might not be capable of enduring the challenges and difficulties when they face the hard times in their business.

So when you do something which brings you fun and passion, you’ll be more likely to continue it, no matter what are the financial results.


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