If you’ve had a great idea for a business but never knew how to get going online, you’re in luck. Building an online business has never been easier, thanks to great tools that can smooth the path for you. Two things that often get lost in the shuffle are how you’re going to finance the business, then how you’ll market it. Here are a few options to consider as you start your newest endeavor.
Few people have cash in hand to build a new business. It used to be that if you needed financing, you had to go to a bank to get a loan. But loans often require lots of paperwork, credit checks, and involve fees. The old model meant that you might have to borrow even more than you needed, and for people who need only a few hundred dollars to start, a loan wasn’t even worth offering by the bank.
Enter crowdfunding. You might not find an individual bank that will give you a loan, but online chances are there are dozens, even hundreds or thousands of people who like your idea. Through the donations of people who support your vision, a dollar here and a dollar there can add up into exactly what you need to get started. Crowdfunding for startups has become the new norm. Sites like Kiva.org and Kobo work in “micro-loans”, where those who benefit from small loans are requested – but not required – to pay them back at a later time. The money goes to fund someone else’s future project.
The other side of crowdfunding is found in sites like Kickstarter and IndieGogo, where prospective entrepreneurs ask for donations instead of loans; and interested people can use moip payment method to fund a particular project. Money on sites like these can be harder to gain, but you don’t have to pay it back so long as you go through with your vision. This type of funding site also has a wider range of projects to choose from, so if you look there for money, you will have to make your project stand out.
You have already heard the buzzwords about how social networking is the way of the future. It’s the way of the present, too, but it’s often misunderstood. If you are going to use social networks to market your company, you need to use them in the way they were designed to be used: by engaging your prospective customers. Don’t just tweet your ads; use Twitter to learn what your customers want. Follow trends and join groups on Google+. Create a company page on Facebook. Talk with your customers. Let them know where you’ll be, and what you’re up to. Show your involvement in the community, both online and in the real world. People don’t want to be “marketed to,” they want to feel like you’re actually listening. Social networking has so many possibilities.
Remember that customers are individuals. If you plan to use a social network to advertise your business, think about the tone of the community that you’re about to join. Don’t try to sound cool by using slang if that’s not what you’re about. Just be you, and let your product speak for itself. People will respond a lot more positively if you do.