Launching a business online can be exciting and profitable. It’s a great way to supplement an existing income stream or even to become one’s sole occupation. Many individuals and small businesses have met with tremendous success, some making literally millions of dollars a year, even after starting at ground zero, with no knowledge of the Internet beyond the very basics, if that. There are no guarantees, but it can be done. It requires patience and a willingness to go through the steps to get it right, though.
You can also read: How to Develop a Second Source of Income?
Why Three Services?
To launching profitable a business online you should use three different “channels” to build your business online:
- Selling products through eBay auctions
- Setting up an online store using Yahoo! Merchant Solutions
- Promoting your business through Google, other search engines, and various other online-marketing mechanisms.
Why three channels? There are a number of reasons:
- Few businesses are simple enough to survive with a single method for finding business. If you sell hot dogs to people who eat hot dogs, you may need only to place your hot-dog stand on a busy street. But if you sell hot dogs to businesses that sell hot dogs to people, you would use many different ways to reach those businesses.
- What works well for one business may not work so well for another. Using multiple channels to sell and to reach people increases the likelihood that you find the best one.
- Multiple channels provide multiple opportunities. If you can find people to buy your products more than one way, why leave money on the table by only using one method?
- You’ll find some of the things we suggest in this book can be implemented very quickly, in some cases in just a few hours. Having a range of different options helps you get your toes wet and work your way in slowly. For instance, an already established business could begin selling online with eBay over a weekend, gradually build the online business, then investigate other sales channels later.
While it’s true that some businesses have done very well by finding something simple that works and doing it over and over again for decades, most businesses are not so fortunate. Thanks to competitive pressures—other people want your customers too; remember—most businesses have to do many things in order to survive and thrive. What works today may not work tomorrow.
Some methods you try for finding more business may not work, or may not work well as something you haven’t yet tried. Business is an evolutionary process, with the notion of natural selection replaced by the degree of the initiative of the business owners and managers. A business gradually evolves as the people running the business try new things, discard things that don’t work or that no longer work, and adopt techniques that show promise.
The three-channel method provides a great way to get started with an online business, showing you a number of essential techniques for surviving—and thriving online.
In particular, companies succeeding online often use a number of strategies to do so. These are the sort of things you may one day find yourself doing:
- Selling through online auctions
- Selling through discount channels, such as Overstock.com
- Selling through merchant sites such as Amazon.com
- Selling through a web store
- … or, in some cases, several web stores, for different audiences or perhaps different pricing strategies
- Buying Pay Per Click ads to bring buyers from the search engines to your store
- Using Search Engine Optimization to bring buyers from the search engines without paying a click fee
- If you own offline business, using various techniques to integrate online and offline operations, pushing business from the offline business to the online, and vice versa
- Using an affiliate program, paying other web sites commissions for purchases made by buyers arriving at your store through affiliate sites
- Publishing an e-mail newsletter to keep in touch with customers and promote your products to their friends
- Marketing through PR campaigns targeting e-mail newsletter editors
- Promoting your products through discussion groups
- And many other things . . .
One thing you can say about doing business online is that however successful you become,
there’s always more to learn!