Start an online business from scratchEver thought how to start an online business?

The past week I’ve attended a couple of networking sessions and in one of those events we were talking about the lessons we’ve learned in our business careers so far.

The chair lady asked each of us to quickly share (in less than 2 minutes) what we will do if we had to start over from scratch. Since she knew I had online business, she asked me specifically to explain how to set up an online business and attract clients via your website. 

I actually smiled, because starting an online business and attracting clients via your website is a process. It takes time.

It is not something that necessarily happens overnight.

There is no quick fix or magic bullet for getting started and getting more clients. However, I also know that when you follow a process and a step-by-step plan, you can reach that point of getting clients and making money in your business much faster.

So, I stood up and this was my answer.

Here is exactly what I will do today if I had to start all over again.

Step 1: CHOOSE my audience

I will first of all choose and make a decision on a target audience. I will…

  • Decide who I would like to work with;
  • Find out what problems they have…. that I can solve;
  • Craft a marketing message so they understand how I can help them and then
  • Position my business in such a way to solve those problems for them;

Step 2: Identify where to FIND them

After I know who I want to work with and what I will say to them, I will start looking for places where I can find them in large numbers and inexpensively. This can include social media groups, forums, networking events, trade shows etc. I will ensure that I am consistently present in those places – either in person or via my marketing materials and will create a varied and continuous marketing outreach strategy to inform prospects how they can benefit from working with me..

Step 3: Set bait to HOOK them

I will direct all my marketing efforts (from Step 2) to my website.  So in Step 3 I will create a website and use the marketing message (from Step 1) to attract my ideal clients (the bait). I will put 1 or more valuable free resources on my site that addresses the specific needs of my target audience (the hook). This will provide me with an opportunity to capture the contact information of ideal clients that are interested in what i have to offer.

Step 4: Follow up to KEEP them

This is the important part. Having people in your client pipeline or on a list means nothing if you don’t create a relationship with them. So, I will use systems to  stay in touch with them on a regular basis and continue to deliver value. The truth is: you never know how long it will take someone to become ready to work with you. When you follow up, stay in touch, and send them great information that they can use, your prospects won’t forget about you. It furthermore gives them an opportunity to really get to know and trust you. When they are ready and need the solutions you provide, you will be the first person on their mind.

Step 5: Have something to SELL them

The truth is, you do not have a business and you cannot make money if you do not have anything for sale. Also, you need to ask for the sale in an authentic way. So, I will deliver a service and/or create a product or program that addresses the specific needs of my target audience (from Step1). This will be available through my website, and I’ll have a varied and continuous marketing outreach strategy to inform prospects of it and how they can benefit from working with me..

Step 6: Monetize and EXPAND

In this step, I will enroll clients into my business, enjoy my income and start expanding my business by better leveraging my time, money and knowledge.

In a nutshell, these are the 6 steps that I will take if I had to start from scratch. Obviously it sounds over simplified, but this covers the total process any online business can follow to grow and expand their client base,  from scratch.