9 Easy Ways to Start an Online Business for Beginners

Anyone can learn how to start an online business, especially beginners like you. We can definitely be successful in starting an online business as long as we use the right guidance, like the guide in this article.

You will learn about how to start an online business for beginners. Starting from determining the product to be sold to marketing the product. To make it clearer, please read the explanation below!

How to Start an Online Business for Beginners

In this era everything is online and digital based, such as online shops. Many people start this business, such as students, university students and housewives. Usually they sell online shops clothes, headscarves, shoes and other things that are profitable.

Many sell using social media such as Facebook, Instagram and even using the shopping application. Why is the online shop business so popular? Because this business can be said to be easy and usually without capital for students.

This time we will discuss how to start an online business with nine main steps. Anything? The following is complete with an explanation!

1. Find the Problems Facing the Market

Products are an important component in online business. Products that suit market needs have the potential to win that market. If you provide a product that the market doesn’t want, there is a big possibility that your business will fail.

So when you want to start an online business, any type of business, the first thing you have to think about is whether the product is needed by the market? Does our product solve consumer problems? Here’s how to find the problem.

a. Identifying problems faced by consumers

The way to find products that the market needs is to look for and identify what kind of problems the market is facing. You must conduct field observations to find problems faced by potential consumers.

b. Looking for business opportunities anywhere

To find the right problem, don’t stick to your own assumptions, you can make observations on the internet, review forums, marketplaces, social media and even Facebook groups.

Or you can also make direct observations such as conducting short interviews to get direct insight from people who are facing the problem.

c. Choose a problem with business potential

If you can identify the problems facing the market, then it’s time to choose which problems you can solve. Because not all of these problems can be turned into business potential.

2. Market Research

If you have found a problem with business potential, the next step is to conduct market research. Carrying out market research will help find unique online business ideas.

So you can make decisions based on objective data, not just opinions and assumptions.

a. Keyword Research

The easiest way to see online business trends is keyword research on search engines. What people search for when looking for a problem on search engines can be data that you can find a solution for.

Then, you also need to look at search trends, what keywords are related, how large the search volume is and the location of the search origin. You can use keyword tools to do keyword research.

b. See trends on social media

Apart from doing keyword research on Google, you can also observe trends on social media.

Write the keywords you want to search for and then various people’s posts about that problem will appear.

c. Join the forum

Consumers usually have their own forums or groups to discuss the products they want. For example, skincare and makeup customers have forums such as Female daily. Then you can join the forum.

d. Create a Survey

After you have findings in online forum search engines and social media, you can create a survey. From this survey you can get more detailed information.

Apart from that, you can also accommodate suggestions and input from consumers, so that it can make your online business easier.

3. Analyze Competitors

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“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” this adage can be applied when you want to start a business. You can approach competitors and study them.

What are their advantages, how to approach consumers and their shortcomings.

That way you can determine the right product to compete with them. Following are the steps to analyze competition with competitors:

a. Competitor group

The following are the three main groups of competitors, namely:

  • The main competitors, target markets and products are the same as you.
  • Secondary competitors offer the same product but have different target markets. For example, a beverage franchise business, your secondary competitor is a cafe.
  • Tertiary competitors, they compete with your target market and also have products that are related to your product.

Grouping competitors helps you focus on the main priority, namely analyzing the competition.

b. Visiting competitor websites

After grouping them, you can start analyzing them. One way is to visit their website. Here are some questions that can help you identify their website:

  • What is the product brand? How to display products and their details?
  • How is the product description? How detailed is the information provided?
  • What does the CTA look like on their website?
  • Do they provide newsletters? If yes, what benefits are provided to subscribers?
  • How do you display social media on a website?
  • How fast does the website load?
  • Is the website mobile friendly?
  • Do they have a blog? So what’s the content?
  • Does it provide 24 hour support? What kind of customer service methods are provided?
  • Try their support service and see how long it takes to respond to you.
  • Does it have a special promotions page? What promotions do they offer?
  • What are the main menus on the website?
  • Do you display customer testimonials on the website?
  • What are the payment methods?
  • What shipping methods are provided?
  • The list of questions above is only a small part, but there is no harm if you use it.

c. Visiting competitors’ social media

After visiting their official website, you should also visit their social media. Here are some questions that can help you:

  • What social media do you use?
  • How actively are they posting new content?
  • Are they responsive to customer comments?
  • What is the concept of their post?
  • Do you use influencers? If yes, who is the influence?

d. Look for competitor reviews

Just analyzing social media and websites is not enough, you also have to look at customer reviews. Here is a list of questions that help you analyze customer reviews:

  • What makes customers satisfied?
  • What do customers complain about?
  • Is the product price too expensive or right?
  • How long does it take to send the goods?
  • What features are most important to customers?
  • Are customers satisfied with the customer service?
  • What do customers expect from the product?
  • Does their product adequately solve customer problems?

e. Identifying competitors’ market positioning

After carrying out the four points above, you can conclude your competitors’ market positioning. Market positioning is the product image in the eyes of customers.

To make identification easier, you can use the questions below:

  • What do customers look for in competitors’ products? Are they looking for a bargain? Looking for quality? Or looking for certain benefits?
  • What are competitors highlighting to win the target market?
    What features and benefits are most often highlighted in promotions?
  • What is unique about this product?

f. Compare competitors’ prices

Price is one of the things that customers always consider when they want to buy a product. That’s why you have to compare the product prices of all your competitors. What is the average price on the market?

And how many customers are willing to spend money to buy the product.

4. Looking for a Business Model

Research does not stop at the target market and products to be sold. The next step is the need to choose what kind of business model is most profitable. Because even though the product is the same, the way to sell it is different.

For example, you want to sell tablets specifically for reading ebooks. If you have sufficient capital, you can physically stock several items to sell via the marketplace or website.

However, if you don’t have enough capital, you can work with suppliers through a dropship system. That way you don’t need to worry about product stock and capital.

If you feel comfortable being a blogger, then you can work with brands to promote products. This does not involve physical sales of products. That way you can get involved in affiliate marketing or publisher schemes via Google Adsense.

With this scheme, you will get a code or link that customers use to shop. If they shop using that specific link or code, you will get a commission.

5. Determine the Target Market

After carrying out the four points mentioned above, the next step in how to start an online business for beginners is to determine the target market.

The target market is a group of people with the same characteristics who might buy your product.

With a specific target market, you can sell products more easily. Here’s how to determine your target market!

a. Target market grouping

There are two main factors for grouping target markets, namely:

  • Demographics, consisting of age, location, gender, income, level
    education, marital status, employment and ethnic background.
  • Psychographics, consisting of interests, hobbies and espoused values.

So, here you have to estimate potential consumers using the data obtained in the previous steps.

b. Create specific buyer personas

After collecting the data above, now is the time to create a buyer persona. Buyer persona is an ideal picture of a customer. To make it, it requires interview sessions with several customers.

There are two types of buyer personas, namely negative and positive buyer personas. Negative buyer personas are customers who do not have the potential to buy your product, while active buyer personas are those who have the potential to buy.

For example, high class brands such as Gucci and Versace. The positive buyer persona is someone from the upper economic class. And the negative buyer persona is the lower middle economic class.

By limiting your target market to certain groups, it will help you focus on mastering a certain target market.

6. What products can be sold online?

How to start an online business is not perfect if you are still confused about what products you can sell online. The products sold must of course be in accordance with the target market and solve problems.

The following are some examples of types of products that can be sold online:

  • Services, ranging from hotel bookings, goods delivery, ticket orders to online marketing.
  • Physical or digital products, ranging from snacks, clothing, jewelry, cellphones, medical devices, ebooks to software.

7. Create a Website

Starting an online business is not complete if you don’t create a website. Why a website? Because customers want it. Apart from that, the website also increases your credibility.

Usually potential customers will look at the shop’s credibility first before deciding to buy a product from you. If they believe in the credibility of your online business, they will be sure to make a transaction or buy.

8. Marketing Products with the Right Strategy

The step in how to start an online business is to market the business you have created. Even though you’re marketing online, you shouldn’t be careless. You need the right strategy. Here are the strategies you can do:

a. Using Google My Business

You can register your online business on Google My Business. One of the features provided by Google will make it easier for potential customers to find out complete information about your business.

Starting from your business name, address, telephone number, email address, operational hours to your website. Even though it looks trivial, by using Google My Business your business can appear on maps, customer reviews and become a communication medium for customers.

b. SEO Optimization

So that a website can be easily found by customers on Google, it is mandatory to carry out SEO optimization. By doing this optimization, your website can appear on the first page of Google searches.

c. Maximize social media

After optimizing the website, the next step is to make maximum use of social media or Social Media Marketing. Because now people are very active on social media networks.

That way, you can take advantage of it by carrying out the right promotions and strategies so that the advertisement is accepted by your target market or potential consumers.

9. Retain Loyal Customers

Apart from targeting new customers, you also have to retain loyal customers. You do this by appreciating them, handling complaints and providing good customer service or support.

Without it, customers may leave and never buy again. You can use a loyal card, that is, when customers buy they will get points. At predetermined points, customers can get prizes or free products.

Apart from that, you can also make offers via email marketing. Because customers don’t see your website and check your social media every day. Therefore, you can carry out promotions using marketing emails that are sent directly to them.


So, that’s how to start an online business for beginners. With the steps above, you can definitely create a quality online business. The hope is that you can understand it easily and apply it straight away.

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