Step 1: Define and Understand Your Target Market
So, you have a great business idea. What to do next?
Start with knowing your market. Ask the following questions to help you out.
- Who are your target customers?
- What are their needs and biggest pain points?
- How will your online business solve their problem?
Know also how other online businesses in the same field are trying to attract customers. Check the websites of your potential competitors and see what they’re doing to address their customers’ needs.
Step 2: Identify Your Product
Once you have a deep understanding of the market you want to serve, it’s time to find a product—a potentially profitable one—to sell. Ideally, there’s a good demand for your product without too many competitors.
Consider also your interest, experience, and knowledge of your business idea. It would be difficult to sustain a business you’re hardly knowledgeable and interested in.
Step 3: Determine Your Business Idea’s Profitability
- Your financial situation and qualities as an entrepreneur
- Whether your target market is able to and willing to pay for your product
- Your competitors, their scope in the market, and your competitive advantage (what sets you apart from the rest)
- Materials, equipment, services, and manpower needed to run your online business
- Startup costs
- Source of funding, including any required business loan
- How profitable and sustainable your online business will be
Step 4: Write a Business Plan
A business plan is a written assessment, in an outline format, of your business’ viability. Lenders such as banks and government agencies require this document when you apply for a business loan.
Step 5: Register Your Online Business
Is it necessary to register an online home-based business? In the Philippines, same business registration rules apply to online businesses as traditional businesses.
Before you start an online business, make sure it is legal to operate and has the required permits and licenses. The only way is to register with these government offices:
- Securities and Exchange Commission or SEC
- Local government
- Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)
- Pag-IBIG, PhilHealth, and SSS
Step 7: Look For Suppliers
Identify and find legitimate suppliers and wholesale distributors that sell high-quality items at reasonable prices, so you can offer competitive prices to your customers while still earning a profit.
Step 8: Establish Your Delivery Methods
Customers will love buying again from your business if you can deliver their orders fast.
Your delivery options include couriers or shipping companies (LBC, Air21, 2GO Express, etc.) and delivery apps (Lalamove, GrabExpress, Mober, Transportify, etc.) that offer on-demand, same-day delivery services for small businesses in the Philippines.
Step 9: Build Your Business Website
Create an online presence for your business in three ways: setting up an e-commerce site, using online shopping marketplaces, or creating a portfolio website. While many online businesses start (and even thrive) on having a Facebook page alone, investing in your own website makes your business look more legit in the eyes of your target customers. You can either hire a professional web designer to build a website for you or do it on your own.
Step 10: Create Your Social Media Accounts
Get your online business closer to your target customers by opening accounts on the right social media sites, depending on the nature of your business. Regardless of your online business type, you should create your Facebook Business page (3). Around 82% of Filipinos use this social network (4), so use it extensively to promote your business.