Start Small and Grow Big: A Simple Guide – Online Business
Most of us start from zero. From nothing. I did. It was hard. For those of you out there starting small, from nothing. I can relate. I understand. Here’s a simple guide to start small and grow big in online business.
Honestly, I failed multiple times before I had my first successful online business. But I kept trying until something didn’t fail. Most of the time, that’s exactly what success is. Finally not failing for once. Along the way I learned a lot. I also learned how important it was to start small and grow big. It’s the sustainable online business model.
The Small Idea with Big Potential
The successful online business starts with an idea. Not just any idea. But an idea with potential for success. How do you determine the potential for an online business idea?
If you want to increase your odds for success, start with a small, simple idea that solves a big problem. Now, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to solve the biggest problems in the world. It really doesn’t even have to be that unique. If it is a unique idea, sure it might help some. But it doesn’t really have to be that unique. But the point here is that the best online business ideas solve problems for people.
Your idea could answer a question on a specific topic. It could be a software that solves a problem for a target audience of people or businesses. If other people are already doing this idea, just do yours better than they are. I don’t believe in saturated markets. Whatever you want to compete in, do the best version out there. However, it will be much easier if you don’t have much competition.
The Fast and Friendly Website
When you actually pull the trigger on starting your online business, you should start with a website. Make sure your hosting provider (web server) is fast, reliable, and offers free SSL encryption.
Don’t blow off your hosting and just use whatever. This can kill your chances of having a successful website. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here, but if you don’t have SSL encryption, or if you have a slow load time on your website, search engines won’t take you seriously and over half of your web traffic will leave before your page finishes loading.
You should also have a well designed website that’s mobile compatible and easy to use. Setup calls to action to convert people to your email list. Offer something for free to help boost your conversions.
If you are using WordPress, you should use a fast, flexible, and mobile responsive theme that helps automate the development process. Personally, I use the Divi theme and page builder.
Increasing Web Presence with Social Media
Start your social media accounts. At the very minimum, you should have a Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest Account. If you want to really boost your rankings and presence, start a YouTube account. However, making videos for YouTube is a lot more work than other social media.
The results are worth it though. While you work on your website, it’s a good idea to go ahead and start these accounts to let them age a little.
See, for the first 2 to 3 months, they are considered new accounts. Most social platforms keep an eye on new accounts to make sure there’s no spamming or suspicious activity.
For example, one time I started a new Instagram account. I posted a profile picture, one image post, then went and followed 10 to 15 accounts. My account was suddenly suspended. It took me 3 days to recover it.
To this day, I don’t know why it was suspended in the first place. I think maybe a previous owner had the “handle” I was using, @InternetBusinessOwner. Perhaps their account had been suspended before, and that’s why it became available. So maybe it was extra easy to get flagged. I’m not really sure.
However, most social media platforms have something in their algorithm to limit or restrict new accounts. The best thing to do is to start them, add your basic business and website information, and make an initial post. You can come back to it later on to start updating it regularly. The idea is to go ahead and age the account some. Just get them started.
After you have everything going and launch your business, you should be posting on your social media at least once per week. Consistency and engagement is key for social media success.
Grow Your Audience
This is the primary goal for almost every online business. When you grow your audience, you have a targeted group of people, that have already shown interest in you or your topic, that you can put your products, services, coupons, and content in front of.
Make sure your website is setup to convert visitors to an email list. Once you grow your email list, even a little, you can send that audience marketing information and promotions as often as you want. Your email list is your most important audience. It’s the highest converting, and you can be very direct and aggressive in your strategies.
YouTube is probably the next most effective platform to grow your audience. Again, YouTube content is much more difficult and time consuming to create, but it works fantastic. However, YouTube isn’t for every business model.
Definitely grow your audience on social media. Likes and followers can really help boost your online business. You can also start to determine what platforms are going to work best for your business, then focus more on those. Remember, focus more on what’s working and less on what’s not working.
Finding Superfans in a Small Audience
Starting small is good. It gives you the opportunity to engage with your audience more. When you are just getting started and have a really small audience, you will begin to notice that you have what we like to call “Superfans.”
Let’s say you have an email list with only 20 people on it. Of course, you are sending out your emails from a service like MailChimp, and ending your emails with something along the lines of… “Feel free to reply to this email if you have any questions for me!” Then sign your name at the bottom.
Well, one day you get a lovely reply from someone named Stacy. You notice that this is the same Stacy that comments on your Instagram posts. Well, my friend, you have found your first Superfan.
Engage with this person, laugh with this person, and take pride in knowing they are talking about you elsewhere. These are the most important people in your audience.
Superfans are usually the first ones to become new customers. They are also the ones that respond when you need help or ask for something.
If you tell your Instagram audience to subscribe to your new YouTube channel, your Superfans will be there for you.
Need feedback from your audience on an idea? Your Superfans will be the first to answer you.
Keep your Superfans engaged, and let them know you appreciate their support. A small handful of Superfans can power a small business and quickly help it grow.
Why is it Good to Start Small and Grow Big?
There are many benefits to starting small before growing big. For example, if you try to start big, you better be ready to start spending big money on things like hiring. You usually have to have a pretty large budget to start big.
Even if you hire and have the budget, in reality, you are probably still starting from scratch. There are companies out there spending millions that already have 40 employees that are still considered small, and not not having success in their business model.
One of the biggest advantages of starting small is being the face of your business. Being your own brand. There are so many potential customers out there that take comfort in knowing who they are dealing with.
Put your face on your business! Take pride in being a small one-person operation. Let people know that they are dealing with you. This is a marketing tactic with a huge advantage.
The bottom line is…
If you want to do things right, start small and grow big. Period.
Thank you guys so much for reading! If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask in the comments section below. While you are down here, tell me your story. Also, is there anything I missed that you think I should add to this list?
Let me know in the comments! Thanks again for reading.