Digital entrepreneurs are those who make their money through online businesses and enterprises, whether they are a local craftsperson or the CEO of a tech giant. There are many routes to becoming an online entrepreneur; however, having a unique product, service or business proposition is one of the most important steps towards success in the digital marketplace.

The online space has an enormous number of vendors, and as such, every company is faced with a huge amount of competition. In order to stand out from the crowd, online entrepreneurs must offer something unique – whether that’s the product itself, a brilliant delivery method, or outstanding customer service. To be sure that a business proposition is unique, it is vital to do thorough market research – analysing what is already available, and where there is an opportunity to excel.

In-depth research on the competition will offer many insights. Therefore, digital entrepreneurs should aim to learn everything there is to know about their competitors, from the way they use social media and the size of their community, to what their customers say about them in forums and in the comments section on their site.

Designing a Business Plan for Success

A business plan is an effective way to break down a venture into the many small steps that will need to be taken when establishing a new business. There are many questions to address in a business plan, including the following:

  • Where will the product be sourced from and/or manufactured?
  • Who will design, build and maintain the ecommerce website?
  • How will the business be funded – both short term and long term?
  • If demand for the product rises beyond current capacity, how will the business expand to meet this demand?

For further information on the structure of a business plan, please refer to the embedded PDF.

The Importance of Marketing

James Hopkins, founder of James Hopkins Coaching Limited, understands the value of clever marketing thanks to his experience of establishing and growing businesses in the digital advertising industry.

Budding entrepreneurs should have a sense as to where their money and time will be best spent, yet as a general rule, most businesses do well to advertise on social media. Although social media marketing is a cost-effective and efficient tool, business owners should be aware of which platforms are most suited to their products, services and target market.

Rather than spreading resources across many different platforms, online businesses may benefit from participating in a smaller number of highly relevant platforms, rather than having a diluted and part-time presence across all of the platforms.

Become an Excellent Communicator by Email 

Every business should start building an opt-in mailing list immediately, gathering the email addresses of every customer, potential customer and other interested parties. An opt-in mailing list is amongst the most valuable assets for any business, as each name on the list has expressed interest in the brand – giving their permission to receive news, updates and other communications.

By emailing subscribers they receive something that they have an active interest in, which can be the start of a lifetime relationship with the company. Businesses are also able to accurately measure the effects of each email; the ad is highly targeted and marketing in this way is both cheaper and more effective than TV, radio or print ads.

Upselling can also be achieved through email by offering products that are complimentary to their original purchase, as well as by sending a ‘thank you’ email with a discount code or coupon for future purchases. By rewarding customers for making a purchase companies can inspire brand loyalty, which is a very valuable resource for longevity in business.