Q: I have an offline business and I want to expand it online. How should I go about it and what’s the most important thing I should keep in mind?
A: Expanding your offline business online is a great idea. The online environment is not completely different from your offline environment. It’s just another way of talking to your customer. You will no longer meet them face to face but you still have to interact with them, market yourself and follow all the basic business rules.
The most important thing in an online business is clarity and ease of use. Both the online and offline environments are noisy environments. It takes a lot of effort to communicate your values and your offer to other people.
Unless you have complete clarity about what you are and what you are offering, your website visitors will look at your website and say: “Oh, I’ve seen this before.”. They will not see your unique qualities because your website and offer will be too similar to other offers that they have seen before.
Start in the beginning with 1 stream of income. Find a way to sell something and then build on what works, on your own successes. The wrong way to go about it is to imagine a perfect future and try to change the reality to match your ideal vision. Sometimes it works but most of the time it doesn’t work.
Take the approach of testing your assumptions. First, start with the market. What do people want to buy? What problems and needs do they have? A person is more than happy to buy your solution that will fill their needs or solve their problems.
So, here are the basic steps:
#1: Find a group of people who have a problem or a need and that are willing to pay you for the solution.
#2: Create the solution.
#3: Ask them to pay you for your solution.
#4: Rinse and repeat.
The above 4 steps are more than enough to get you started on the right path. Make it simple, follow the above ideas and you will do fine.