Let’s say you’re a newbie to the world of online sales and are looking to make money online, but you’re starting with a small startup budget. With the blinding wealth of information available for new business owners, knowing how to spend your limited funds can be a bit intimidating.
Here is a five-step checklist to help get you started and guide you toward success.
1. Spend time getting feedback on what you’re selling before launching.
Don’t rely on affirmation from friends and family to validate that you have a unique and salable product or service. Chances are, these people are emotionally attached to you, and they’re more likely to think every idea you share is the greatest thing since Nutella. Getting feedback from people who are emotionally attached to you is a “disaster from the start,” says Adam Callinan, founder of BottleKeeper.
Get market validation from potential customers who aren’t in your social circle. Some entrepreneurs use the “will they pull out their wallet” test before investing money in a business. Callinan, who’d come up with a prototype for an individual beer bottle cooler, ran a crowdfunding campaign on Fundable to gauge pre-orders for his product. His campaign raised nearly $14,000, 280 percent of his $5,000 goal.
Besides Fundable, there are a number of crowdfunding platforms to choose from including Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Rockethub.
Other ways to get people’s feedback, says Sujan Patel, vice-president of Marketing at When I Work, is using customer insight survey tools, such as Qualaroo and Client Heartbeat. If you’re just starting out, surveys are a chance to find out what the customer is hoping the product/service will solve or do for him or her. If you’re already in business, surveys can ask how the customer found out about the product or service, whether the customer is willing to be a return customer and why.
Or if you’re in a job in the industry you plan on starting a business in, get feedback from the people at your job — your manager and clients — says Steve Tobak, founder of Invisor Consulting.
2. Have a website.