Online Entrepreneur – sound like your dream job?

If so, then maybe you should read on…

Towards the start of the year, we notice a bit of a trend in the office – we get a lot of would be ‘entrepreneurs’ coming through our door with big ideas about websites.  By big ideas, we’re not talking about innovation, we’re not talking about solid business ideas, we’re talking about people who want to build “the next Facebook”, or “the next Ebay”.   This is always an exciting time for us, as we love to listen to these new ideas because we are encouraged by the creativity of these people and their motivation to build ‘the next big thing’.

A common thread amongst many of these people is that a high percentage of them have never created a website before, and know little about time, costs, resources and marketing required to make these big sites work.  We thought we’d take a little time to develop a list of things to consider for the next generation of online entrepreneurs, to help them steer themselves through this unfamiliar territory…..

 

Market Research & Competition

Have you conducted market research?  While you may have a great idea for a website that would fulfil a need that you have, is there enough demand in the marketplace out there for a solution like yours?

Have you analysed your competition?  It is important to look around and see what’s out there, how are they doing business online, and what good/bad lessons can you learn from them?

Are there any websites already out there doing something similar?  Inevitably there will be someone out there who has had a similar idea, and that’s ok, you just need to ascertain what will your point of difference be.  For example, try and answer this: why would a potential customer select your website over your competitor’s?

 

Investment – time and money

How do you plan on funding this project?  Custom built websites require significant investment.  Do you have the capital, or have you considered potential funding sources?  Remember that these don’t necessarily always have to be banks, there may be Government Grants or commercial sponsors willing to invest in an idea depending on it’s nature.  Even Ebay received $6.7million in funding from a venture capitalist in 1997.

What is your revenue model?  How will you make money from this project?  Look at it this way – while Facebook started in 2004 and became increasingly popular, it didn’t actually become cashflow positive until 2009.

Do you have the time to invest in the development of this website?  While your chosen web development company will do the design and technical work, you will still be required to participate in scoping of the project, ongoing approval of designs, consultation regarding programming questions, and ultimately the website content (text).

 

Ongoing Considerations

How do you plan on marketing your website?  Marketing may take the form of traditional marketing through print, radio and television, but you will also need a solid online marketing campaign to ensure you reach the right target audiences.

Who is going to offer support / manage phone calls and enquiries from your website?  Consider what might happen in the best case scenario – if your website gets thousands of visitors and enquiries each day; handling these in a timely and effective manner will be time consuming and could require full time attention.   Facebook was originally started by Mark Zuckerberg when he was studying at college, but what a lot of people don’t realise is that he now has more than 2,000 employees working full-time updating and continually developing the social media network.

 

We know that’s probably a lot to take in, but these are all important things to consider and include within your website plan, and your broader business plan. There seems to be a general acceptance amongst the community that getting a website is a quick, easy way to make your quick million, but for every success – the real Ebay, and the real Facebook – there are literally millions of website ideas that fail, for any number of reasons.

If you have any questions about the above, or you’re keen to talk about your website idea – we’d love to hear from you, and discuss your concerns or help you with the feasibility of your idea.  Call us today on 1300 723 618.

One final word from us – make sure you have a passion for the industry that you wish to enter, your passion will be your best motivation to get your idea happening and drive it to success!!

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