Hi, welcome back! The last time we discussed the importance of an online business plan. In this article we are going to get into the general outline of your online business plan, so have a notepad and your favorite pen or pencil handy.
Let’s quickly review three points.
This whole exercise, and site for that matter, is based off the premise that you already have an offline business. You may be an Interior Designer, Accountant, Realtor®, Painter, neighborhood Shop Owner etc. You have current clients/customers and you want to increase your local visibility or maybe national visibility depending on your service or product.
You do not have room in your budget for the $1,000-$2,000 a month fee that website consultants charge, so you are open to working on your online piece of real estate yourself. Let’s face it you have probably done every job related to your current business anyway, so what is one more if it will save you $1,000-$2,000 a month.
You agree with the concept that a plan for any project is important and that the results might not show right away, but you know that being persistent and consistent, and patient your efforts will pay off.
All right with the above as our starting point let’s get this party started!
The basics of an online business plan:
What is Your Niche Market?
Think of your niche market as your product, service, and location (city). We will be using these terms to do keyword research for your website.
Keywords are the words and phrases people use to find products or services, like you’ve probably done thousands of times. These phrases and words are crucial to your success online. Ten people will probably search for the same product using 11 different phrases and each of those phrases will have different amounts of competition (ie: the more websites competing for a keyword phrase the harder it will be for a new site to get noticed/ranked for that phrase).
What are Your Current Sales per Month and Year?
Go into your files and see what your past sales have been for each month and year. The reason we are doing this is so you can have a baseline of your sales without a website. If you have more than one product or service you want to market then break it down to sales for each product per month and year.
As you move forward you might find that certain products or services might not do as well for you as others. This will open up several options for you:
- You might chose not to market the low producing product.
- You might need to tweak the marketing of the product.
- You might develop the product to meets the needs of your target market.
What is Your Unique Selling Proposition?
What makes you ‘rock’ at your service or product you are currently marketing? This is going to help you with your content marketing, ie: what information you are going to be putting on your website. Think about compliments your customers have given you:
- Are you a Landscaper and your clients have referred you because of your great eye to making the front yard ‘pop’?
- Are you a Realtor® and your clients are always inviting you to their housing parties and introducing you as “this is who took the time to explain and made sure we understood all the paperwork”?
- Are you an Interior Decorator who is getting referrals because your clients are so happy that your project was completed on-time and on-budget?
You get the picture, you can build your unique selling proposition from the comments/feedback that your customers have given you?
Okey-dokey, that’s enough for this part. Next time we will cover a couple other items that are part of the process, but more of a side-note.
So, it’s time for a little homework.
Go back to your notepad and favorite pen and start putting your thoughts on paper, don’t worry about being perfect or if something is slightly duplicating another idea – just write away.
1. What is Your Niche Market?
2. What are Your Current Sales per Month and Year?
3. What is Your Unique Selling Proposition?
In the next article we will discuss the 3 foundations of your online business plan.
If you have any comments, questions, or good-natured tidbits on building your online business plan, please submit them in the comments section below, that way we can all learn from each other.