5 Fundamentals of Online Business Success
23 min read
Creating Online Business Success
When you’re starting an online business, you need to know and set up the fundamentals of online business success.
You’re looking at that big mountain above you wondering if you can make it to the top.
How are you going to tackle all of the unseen obstacles that you know are coming?
How do you know what things to focus on?
And what about – oh yeah, customers and stuff?!
Don’t worry my dear reader, I’ve got you covered!
On The Success Mountain we talk about all of this stuff, and more!
But first, I want to give you an overall birds-eye-view of what the online business roadmap looks like.
In this post, we cover:
- Building your business from scratch
- How to monetize
- How to market your business online
- And scaling your business for further success.
Each of these sections will eventually be updated with a post to give you more information about each category, with details, how-to’s, actionable strategies, and step-by-step tutorials to get you set up for success to climb that mountain.
Are you ready to get started building your business from scratch?
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. This goes to help support me and The Success Mountain website – which I am so thankful for!
Building Your Business from The Ground Up
Do You Have the Right Entrepreneur Mindset?
The right mindset is the very first thing to bring up – because successful business owners have it, and those who fail or settle with their lives, don’t have it. It takes a lot of work, determination, perseverance, and a positive mindset to overcome obstacles and be a successful business owner.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, you must also ask yourself if you can overcome a lot of uncertainty – because, uncertain is how you will feel most of the time running your own business. For most of us, the path is unpaved, and we must make it ourselves.
What It Takes To Run A Business Online
Does the thought of speaking with others at events make you shudder?
Do you freeze at the thought of performing a sales call?
If so, you may not be right for owning your own business.
No matter what type of business you’re in – whether that’s an internet business selling digital or physical products behind a computer screen, or creating your own product, you will still be required to sell.
You need to realize that all businesses – any type of business – requires sales.
For your digital products business, you may want to reach out to a school or maybe a bookstore about selling your product.
If you offer service, you need to pitch to new clients or influencer’s.
If you have a physical product selling on Amazon, you need to create a wholesale method and find retailers to buy your product.
You’re pitching to your customers in any of these situations.
Being able to overcome the fear you have to sell and market your product, as well as networking with others in your industry at events, is going to be key to your success.
Before you go put in your two weeks or drop your startup capital on something business related, you want to consider whether you can weather the entrepreneurial storm.
Here’s a few questions you should ask:
- Could I go to many professional events and network with others right now?
- Could I make multiple sales calls for my products right now?
Running Your Own Business Comes with Uncertainty
Uncertainty is something that will come up a lot. Am I doing the right things? Is this going to even work? What if it doesn’t work? Am I not seeing anything that I should be seeing that can blindside me?
These are all questions that you’ll encounter at one time or another – and you have to be okay with not knowing the answer. This is something you need to ask yourself if you are okay with, or if you are the type of person that needs to know at all times where the next paycheck is coming from.
Commitment To Your Goals
Three words that can be described in one as commitment. You must commit to your overall goal and keep moving toward it, no matter WHAT obstacles you run into. You will get obstacles, roadblocks, and problems no matter what business you run.
In fact – if you notice, successful people also have problems, they are just different kinds of problems. Choose your problems by choosing which ones to take action on and commit to keep moving towards your goals with tenacity, determination, and perseverance through any and all obstacles that come your way.
Researching for Your Online Business
Before you start your business venture, you will need to analyze your competition, customers, and industry. Any good business owner will get the lay of the land before heading deep under sea to undertake their business.
Analyze Your Competition
You don’t want to stay here very long, because you don’t want to start down that rabbit hole of comparing yourself to where they currently are. Instead, just take a look at a few things:
- What are they doing right now that’s working?
- What isn’t working?
- What products do they have and what price points do they sell them at?
- How do they market their products?
- What would you do differently?
Do this for a few competitors to get an idea of what is working and not working for them. Then, you can find a way to make yourself different and set yourself apart. As Sally Hogshead says, “Different is better than better”.
Analyze Your Target Customer
Your audience is important to identify. As they say, if you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one. It’s important to niche down if possible, but don’t go so niche that you run out of customers. If your customer is “online business owners who start off as students and single mothers” that’s way too niche’d down.
Come up with a persona for your audience. ONE person that can describe and you can go back to over and over to make sure you’re delivering the right message and the right value to the right customer.
As your customer base grows, you can survey them and really hone in on your audience. Your job right now is to pick an audience, first. Then refocus and refine later.
Always keep moving forward quickly.
Analyze Your Industry
You want to also look and see if you can find authority websites in your industry that you can look to for current news and events.
Where do you get your news now?
Can you find better sources?
You want to find the source of the news, too, and not just be repeating what you saw in your Facebook group.
You can then use this to provide your audience with informative and up-to-date information as quickly as possible.
Setting Up Your Business Legally
You will need to set up your business legally as soon as you start forming it out in your mind.
When you get the money rolling in, or even when you’re first spending it – now that I think about it – you want to separate those from your personal transactions.
Your accountant will thank you later 😊
How to Set Up Your Business Legally:
- Decide on a business name
- Register with your state
- Register for an EIN if you are going to be selling products
- Register for a resellers permit if you are going to be selling products
Read this article on how to set up your business legally.
Setting Up Financials
Then, you need to set up the financial back-end of your business first and foremost, so that you don’t have to worry about back tracking your transactions later.
You will need to set up a business bank account, and software to track your transactions. Get a software subscription to QuickBooks to track your business transactions and invoices.
Branding Your Online Business
Once you’ve set up the foundation for your business with the right mindset, explored and researched your industry, and set up the legal paperwork for your brand, it’s now time for the more fun aspects of building a business!
You will identify what your vision looks like, design it and decide on what is in the heart of your business, next!
Identify Your Brand
To really hone in on what your business is going to entail and accomplish, you need to do some internal homework.
Take a really good look at your vision and what your passion says that your business can be.
Don’t limit yourself, because as Grant Cardone says in his book 10X, average goals achieve average results. You want to really think about where you want to take this baby.
Where do you see it going?
If it were alive 10+ years from now, what amazing monster would you have created?
Let’s explore these further!
What do you want your brand to accomplish?
Do you have a monetary goal?
Get clear on this!
Do you want to reach a specific point?
Do you have a philanthropic goal that you would ultimately like to achieve?
If you were making all the money in the world from your business, what problem would your business be solving?
What’s your vision for your brand? Where do you see it going?
What are your strengths & weaknesses
Ask your family and friends if you don’t know the answer to this question.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is going to be key to knowing what you have time to spend on learning, and what things you need to outsource to someone else.
Spending 10 hours a week working on learning Photoshop when you really do better with spreadsheets is not something you want to pursue and waste time on.
What’s your angle?
How are you going to be different than your competitors?
Go against the groove a bit and think if you could do something the opposite.
Is there something that you can take, an industry norm, that you can flip upside down?
Do you offer a specific angle on your product or service that will set you apart from the competition? Look at your earlier questions from analyzing the competition and see what you said. Use that as a starting point.
Designing Your Brand
Now you get to really get into the exciting design stuff!
Or maybe design isn’t your thing, but you do need to choose a tagline that you will put at the top of your website, a color scheme and font to stay branded, and decide on web design.
Choosing a business tagline
Use this as a template: I help __________’s ___________________ so they can _________________.
Example: I help entrepreneurs build their online business, so they can focus on achieving their best life and dreams.
Place this at the top of your website, above the fold (the first section you can view of your website on your browser), and on your about page. You can also use variations of this to explain further to your customers and audience what you do and who you are.
Choosing a color scheme
Colors are important, and there’s a whole psychology behind choosing the right colors for your brand.
However, it’s important to really love how your brand feels.
For this task, you will want to find color schemes on Pinterest and create a mood board of all pictures, colors, textures and anything else that catches your eye.
Give yourself a time limit to do this – maybe a day or two, to feel this out and really make sure that it’s what feels best for your brand.
Choosing a logo
There are many places to get logos nowadays, from Upwork, Fiverr, or 99Designs.
You can even buy premade branding packages on Etsy or through CreativeMarket.
I have used Fiverr for logo designs and it has been on and off for me.
I’ve heard excellent reviews from 99Designs, although I haven’t tried it myself. Don’t let this cause you to freeze up – a lot of people get stuck here.
Just choose something that you like and move forward.
Choosing a font
Next up is to choose a couple of fonts to work with!
You can also find these on Pinterest, but make sure that the fonts you choose are commercial free. Another option is to use Google Fonts because wherever your website is hosted will most likely have Google fonts.
Make sure you have a really great header font, and an easily readable body font. When I first launched my website, I had a font that my designer chose, after looking at long blog posts, I realized it was really difficult to read. I changed it and it was like a breath of fresh air!
Something to keep in mind is that if you will be using Canva for your website graphics, you may want to use a font that is available on there – otherwise you can get Canva for Work and upload your own fonts. You want to do this so that you keep your branding cohesive throughout all of your marketing materials.
Ah – web design. Some people love it, and some people hate it.
Your website design is going to set the tone and mood for your customers. Y
ou really need to get this one as right as you can the first time but do realize that your website will be living and breathing, so you can change things at any time.
However, stick close to your branding design to stay on brand and not confuse any customers.
Choose where you will host your website (most of us choose WordPress). Then, choose a theme that complements your brand logo, colors and fonts. There may be a font included in your theme, just make sure it works for you.
Setting Up Your Brand Strategy
Now, you will want to come up with a good schedule that you can decide where you will be focusing your efforts.
Social Media Accounts
Which social media accounts do you want to focus on first? I would choose up to two to begin with, and dive deep into them and really focus and learn about the platform.
Don’t let algorithm’s scare you, it happens all the time and all businesses must adjust before moving forward. Worrying about algorithm’s will simply make things more difficult for you and waste your time.
Get all of your social media accounts set up on all platforms as soon as you can so that you can have your name. You don’t want anyone else to take or masquerade as you in the future.
Make sure to brand your social media accounts, too! A banner that matches your brand design is sufficient.
How often do you want to post? What kind of content? Start a swipe file and start collecting ideas from others.
Then, once a month plan out your new content, and try to build it up as quickly as possible. If you’re an internet business, this is how you will get the word out there for your business!
Should you outsource your web design to a designer?
If you can’t find the right theme, or the right color scheme, you can decide to hire a designer. This isn’t a bad idea, although I may suggest you wait until you have some income rolling in before you decide to plunk down a large amount of change to a designer.
To hire a web designer, make sure they are the right fit for you:
- Do they work like you do?
- Do they have the same goals and vision that you do?
- Are they just a ‘yes-man’? Or are they giving you answers like “I can’t do that, but I can do this instead”? Yes-mans tend to overpromise.
- Do they like the project?
- Are you able to afford their rates?
- How is their client onboarding process and offboarding process? Ask them and take thorough notes.
Your brand is living
Finally, for branding, realize that your brand is a living breathing thing. It’s a beautiful creature of your making and will require constant adjusting.
Refrain from changing things too much but realize that changing and moving forward is essential to evolving for business. You will be changing a lot in the first few months, as it takes on a mind of its own. It’s your baby!
Monetizing Your Online Business
There are many methods to monetize your business online. Here are a few:
- Selling to new leads or gaining new customers
- Place ads on your website
- Utilize affiliate income
- Create products of your own
- Run ads
- Host events or masterminds
- Create a membership site
Whichever one you pick, rock it before moving on to the next one!
Lead Researching – This is where you may need to gather brands to call, or people to network with, or find customers to sell to
Running Ads – Placing ads on your site is good for some people. Usually people start with Google Adsense, then move on to Mediavine and a few others as you increase your pageviews.
Earning Affiliate Income – This is where you promote someone else’s product and get passive income rolling with high returns! Make sure this is a product or service that your brand and audience want and needs. They will trust you to give them the right information, and you want to respect that.
Create Products – You can create your own physical or digital products! Find a company who will private label your products, or you can utilize your own print on demand products by using services such as Createspace, Merch by Amazon, Zazzle, Gooten or Printfy. For digital products you can create a shop on Etsy or host it on your own website using Shopify or Woocommerce.
Membership – You can offer a monthly membership where you offer high value for your customers each day, week, or month.
Host Events or Conferences – If you host or sponsor a conference, you will get the word out of your business rather quickly, but you will also be able to involve and network with other business owners as well to help them promote their products or services, offering value in return.
Marketing Your Online Business
Now that you have the foundation of your business and you have chosen a monetization strategy, you want to launch, gain traffic, optimize, and grow!
Launching your Site and Products
Come up with a launch plan, get the word out there as quickly as you can, in as many places as you can, to as many people as you can. Offer a sale or a discount price for products or host a giveaway.
Methods to Gain Traffic
By networking and solving the problem that you have: obscurity (thanks again Grant Cardone!) you will start gaining traffic.
You can also focus on SEO, guest posting, backlinks, running ads, or holding challenges.
The importance of list building for any company is high!
Either you have heard of this a million times, or it’s the first time you’re hearing it, but building your email list is very important. Even if you just sell products online on Etsy, an email list is a big factor in teaching your customers or leads that you can provide the value that they need.
Start growing your list, providing great value with content, freebies or engaging them somehow, and then use a sale funnel to sell to them.
Social Media Marketing
Utilize a dominance strategy
Social media is one of those things where you almost need to be everywhere all at once. Make sure when you are posting that you are giving excellent value, providing content that is highly engaging, entering in calls to action on every single piece of content, and utilizing different content types: videos, webinars, podcasts, etc
Cross post on different networks to gain dominance over the network. Analyze what your competition is doing and then increase that or make yours better somehow.
Repurpose old content and make it into additional content or repost the same content in several places. Repurpose your content from your blog and make it into several different pieces of content to spread it among your networks.
Content marketing is kind of a big deal right now.
It’s no longer enough to hammer ads at our customers until they finally cave in and buy from constant exposure.
We are now in a day and age where you need to give value to your customer in order to get anywhere.
Find a place to write your content, provide high value, and engage your customers.
This is the key to your success.
Places to write content
You can write content on your blog, in your newsletter (which is led in from your blog), on your social media posts – wherever you engage with your customers.
However, make sure it’s also in your home base – which should be your blog. You never want to build your brand on someone’s rented land (such as a social media platform).
Networking Your Online Business
As we spoke about above, networking is part of this entrepreneur deal!
You can market in person, or online, but you do need to do it. To solve the problem of obscurity, you want to get the word out there to others. You will not have people knocking at your door (unless you’re magical).
In person – Such as at conferences, networking events, tradeshows, get togethers from your online groups, etc.
Online – Online groups, collaborations with others in your industry, or guest posting
Ads – The most popular place to run ads is on Facebook – currently. This is because Facebook allows you to highly target your ads to your exact audience. But, before you invest in a lot of money to do this, research a lot, learn how the pros do it, and if you can, maybe hire someone to do this for you if you plan on doing large campaigns.
You can also utilize other platforms to market your business or host your products
Digital product platforms
- Teachers Pay Teachers
Local directories & pop up shops
- Google’s Local Business
Scaling and Growing Your Online Business
After you get a handle on your marketing and sales, it’s time to scale your business and grow it to the next level. To me, there’s two different parts to growing and scaling.
This is the exciting part of the business because you’re finally gaining traction and a lot of your up-front work is starting to pay off!
Keep in mind, there’s something called the momentum of success, and it will start occurring and multiplying if you are doing the right things at the right times.
To grow, you need to simplify the tasks you are doing. To do this, you can write out your processes to make your life easier and know exactly what to do each time you do the same task over and over.
Create systems and processes
Start by writing down your current processes and keeping a checklist of the processes you do each day, week, and month.
Then, create strategies for the core areas of your business. Here’s a few examples of places you would write your processes for:
- For marketing
- For social media
- For content creation
- Accounting routines
- Sourcing for other bloggers to guest post or customers to contact
Finally, Grow Yourself
Improve your skills and continue learning.
Most successful people and CEOs read around 60 books per year. Books, podcasts, videos, and any continual learning you can do for your industry or to improve yourself is only going to benefit you in the long run. I make sure to schedule this directly into my calendar, and it’s my favorite part of the week! Head on over to our Library page to read great pieces I’ve hand-selected just for you.
While you’re handling marketing and utilizing your marketing strategy, you will eventually get to the point where you need to hire someone, and actually scale your business. You’ll know you need to hire someone when you have too much on your to-do list, you’re overwhelmed with the amount of work and feel like you can’t keep on top of things. Trust me, hiring someone is the way to go!
Automate with tools and software
Can you find any tasks that automate your process? Auto-send emails, auto-zap tasks to Trello using Zapier, Create and add labels on Trello Cards, auto-scheduling appointments, etc. Anything you can find, you need to set it up! It will surprise you with how much time you’ll gain just from doing this.
Although there are many methods of time management, and not enough room to go over in this extremely long post (whoops!) I have other posts written just on this subject.
Just remember that you have the same number of hours in each day that other successful people have, and it’s important to realize when you’re not utilizing them successfully.
If you wrote down exactly to the minute what you did for the day, I guarantee you would find time you aren’t utilizing properly. Work towards and strive towards being more efficient with your time – because you can’t get it back when it’s gone!
Building Your Successful Online Business With 5 Fundamentals For Success
We’ve covered the numerous aspects of coming up with an idea, vetting it with your industry, doing your research, creating your brand, coming up with a monetization strategy, creating a marketing strategy, and finally – networking and building your business to beyond that lasts.
These are all the key pieces to take your idea to the next level and get started with your online business.
This road map will help you move towards your ultimate life goals and your dream life that you KNOW you can get to.
Pssst – I know you can get there too!
What questions can I answer for you? What didn’t you like or what were you confused about? Please let me know – I strive to write content that you truly want!
Also, please share this on Pinterest if you can – it would help immensely in growing my blog and helping other people!