Essentials of an Online Business

Once you have established the fundamental premise of the viability of a product, service or information to be monetized online; the next question invariably is how?
With most entrepreneurs who approach me for help on how to establish their online business, the most frequent questions and barriers are about understanding what it takes to drive the creation of an  online business model.
I recommend using the Information Architecture methodology for deriving business planning for online businesses. For my workshops on setting up an Online business ( Contact Score, San Francisco Business Administration Resource Center, Market St, San Francisco, CA Phone 415.744.6827), I normally take entrepreneurs through the entire Information Architecture process in a workshop format. ( Want to learn more about IA, choose to mentor with me at The Information Architecture Institute -

This methodology requires you start the process with identification of the target audience and an analysis of use case for each target audience you are looking to attract to your online store. As internet continues to become an important part of our daily lives, the options, the content and the plethora of choice that it offers continues to engage our time. The average  time that you as a business will ever have to present and engage with a prospective customer online is 3 seconds. If your online store front is not engaging enough for your audience; they will move on to the next option.

Research shows search is a lifeline of today’s shopper. 93% of buyers use search in the shopping process. Most compelling from the data, however, is the significant role generic queries and organic listings play in driving purchases in-store. A whopping 86 percent of consumers say search engines are very important in the buying process, while just one percent use social media alone. Search engines Google and Bing were the first stop for 58 percent of respondents, while 24 percent visited company sites and just 18 percent started with social media. Of those who went to search engines first, 40 percent then turn to social media to help make a decision.

I cannot even begin to emphasize the importance of a proper Target Audience analysis process for the success of your online presence. 
In my next post, we will cover the Target Audience Analysis process in detail. Keep sending your comments, questions in the meantime.

Finally- Online Business!

Online Business is a purchase or sales of product, service or even information – ALL done ONLINE. It may be

  •  On the Internet
  • Product/ Service marketed
  • Product/ service sold
  • Can be Hybrid model

Many online business models have a storefront as well! So being online does not mean that you have to close down your physical presence.
Over the past decade, as the internet has grown exponentially, companies have increasingly used it to sell their goods and services online.
Many large companies, such as Amazon and eBay, successfully conduct all their business on the Web, and online spending continues to grow almost independent of global economic trends. In 2012, the worldwide internet users will reach around 2.3 Billion with much of the growth occurring in developing markets of Asia, Africa and Middle East. According to IDC, in 2012, over 1 billion online users will spend $1.2 Billion in B2C transactions and the online B2C transactions are forecast to reach over $12 trillion. The fastest growing e-commerce sectors in US are Toys & Hobbies, Books & Magazines, and Video Games; in that order. The advantages of an online business is the fact that it opens up a global marketplace for your products and services. It is also location independent, reduces your ops cost, gives you the option of round the clock sales, leads to easy expansion of your business. However, there are risks associated with the business which are bordered around investment, suitability, maintenance, lack of personal touch and ofcourse the dependence on technology. In the series that follows we will explore the possibilities of online business, the process that we use to set it up and how to market and make online businesses successful. 



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