You’ve just started an online business. That’s great. You’re about to enter an entirely new world – hopefully it’s successful. There’s just one problem: how the heck do you get started? Sure, you know you need a business license, and some idea of what you want to sell. You’ve got a lot of the back-end stuff figured out. Now it’s time to actually open your doors. Here’s what you do:

Get Dedicated Office Space

If you don’t already have a dedicated office, get one. Many online businesses start out of a home. If this is the route you’re going, have a dedicated room for the business. Don’t make the mistake of setting up shop in the living room. Why? Because, if you’re too comfortable, you won’t get any work done.

Your office has to feel like an office. That means you need a door you can shut, something to hang on the wall indicating you’re actually in business, and a clock – naturally, so you can tell time.

Get A Good Site Designer

Few things are as valuable to an online business as a good web designer. After all, your website is the face of your company. Every interaction your visitors have with you depends on how well that site functions. A good designer will know how to keep the navigation menu simple and intuitive while allowing the message of your company shine through.

Some of the best sites out there use a minimalist design scheme – lots of white space and few colors to distract users.

A good designer can also help make your landing page more effective at converting visitors. Let’s say you run a site like NextDayLenses, but you want prospects to join a mailing list instead of hoping that customers buy on the initial visit. That way, even if they don’t buy from you immediately, you can stay in touch with them. When they do buy, you can continue to contact them about future promotions.

Outsource Everything

It’s pretty common for online businesses to outsource rather than retain talent in-house. Why? Because customers don’t know how large or small you are. They’re going by the professional layout of your website.

Outsourcing major elements of your business can help you “punch above your weight,” and look larger than you actually are. It can also make growth a lot easier. For example, if you want to sell eyeglasses, you could open up your own store, hire doctors, and a staff knowledgeable about the industry.

Then, you could build your own manufacturing plant to make custom lenses, have a dedicated QA team, and do all of your packaging, shipping, and customer service in-house. Does that sound like an expensive proposition? That’s because it is. You’d be several million dollars in debt and you’d have to work for years just to break even.

On the other hand, you could find yourself a manufacturer that’s already making custom lenses and just become a distributor. That’s a lot less work, and much easier to run. Plus, you can be profitable within the first year.

Richard Phillips is an online entrepreneur. He enjoys sharing his ideas and tips online to help newcomers out.

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