The Successful Online Business Idea
Have a great idea and ready to dive in starting your online business? Before you jump in and start spending thousands of hours making your online business idea a success, make sure you’ve done your research. The most successful online businesses don’t just come from any business idea.
The successful online business solves problems. Now, I’m not saying that your business model must solve complicated or unique problems. It’s just a great way to measure your online business idea’s potential.
All of the most successful online businesses solve some sort of problem. It could be as simple as answering a question someone searches for, or as complex as a new online software that helps businesses with a problem.
“If You Build it, They Will Come.” – No. They Won’t
First, it’s important to understand that online businesses are completely different from “Brick and Mortar” businesses. If you start a restaurant of some kind, people in the area will often come in just because you’re there and you’re new. If your business provides a good product or service, they will tell others it was good and probably come back again.
This is absolutely not the case for a business on the internet. The two most common mistakes I see people make when starting any kind of website is:
- They don’t write any words to put on their website.
- They don’t promote it online or do any digital marketing.
Now, when I say they don’t “write any words,” I mean they literally don’t have CONTENT for their online business. If there’s nothing to read, there’s nothing for search engines to crawl and rank you for.
Furthermore, one of the reasons people don’t promote their website is because there’s nothing there! They didn’t write any words and, in turn, don’t have any content.
Bottom line, if you build an awesome website, that’s absolutely amazing, even if you have content on it, you WILL NOT get any traffic to your website without some kind of promoting, outreach, or marketing.
Finding a Niche for Your Online Business Idea
In online business, finding a niche always makes things a lot easier. When I was in college, I found a special niche that solved a problem for college students all across the country. I found a potentially very successful online business idea and didn’t realize it until a year later.
There was a national, standardized exam that me, and hundreds of my peers had to take. We studied and prepared for it. I tried to find some sort of practice test to help me prepare for it.
Low and behold, no practice test existed for this national exam, which was taken by hundreds of thousands of college students every single semester. You see where I’m going with this? Sounds like a profitable online business idea doesn’t it?
Later on, I started tutoring other college students in the subject. Guess what I did when test time came? You got it. I created a practice test for my students. I spent a lot of time on it. I even made it in the same format as the national exam. I made for them what I wish someone had made for me.
Turning My Online Business Idea into a Success
Eventually, I played with the idea of creating a website for this idea. Finally, 3 years after I first thought to myself “I wish there was a practice test for this,” I developed it. I built it and launched it… and you know what? The day I launched my incredible business idea online, I got my first sale. Same day. I was so excited. It was proof that it was a viable online business idea.
Now, here’s the sales report for a 30 day time range for my niche internet business venture.
Since the product is an online course, it’s pretty much all profit. It took me 3 months from buying the domain, to getting my first sale.
Every year it grows, and maintenance for an online course is minimal. I developed two (2) more online courses after a successful first year with the business.
Consider Your Online Business Concept
Now, before you pull the trigger and go all out on building this idea, I want you to really consider your online business concept. Even if you already have an existing website, or have a business but just need a website for it. I want you to ask yourself these questions.
Who is your target audience?
How much competition is there?
What is your competition doing?
How big are your competitors?
Are there any small competitors succeeding in this industry?
Would you love doing this business?
There’s really no incorrect answers to these, except for the last one. If you don’t love it, don’t do it. Really these are just things that you need to be aware of.
Now, let’s briefly talk about each one of these questions.
Your Target Audience for Your Online Business Idea
Who is your target audience for your online business idea? This is so important to think about because you don’t want to spend too much time, money, or other resources on the wrong target audience.
Think about what needs, wants, or problems your online business will fulfill. The people or businesses that have these needs, wants, or problems are your target audience.
How old are these people? Where do they live? How much do they make? Do they work? Have families? Really break it down. This will help you find creative ways to connect with them.
It’s really important to identify the issue your online business is solving, then identify who has these issues. Even if they don’t know it or broadcast it to the world. You have to be able to identify them.
Target Audience Example: New Small Energy Companies
For example, let’s say you do graphic design and specialize in 3D Animation. Who needs 3D animation? Probably not your average person. Maybe you have a lot of competition. Let’s niche down a bit.
Maybe you can provide 3D Animation for the Energy Industry. Or it could be Affordable 3D Animation with Fast Turnaround for the Energy Industry. Do you see these long tail keyphrases? That’s a whole different topic, but once you start getting experience in internet marketing, you will start to see them everywhere.
So who would need this specific service? Probably small energy companies that are just starting up that have equipment they are trying to sell.
Believe it or not, I did this exact thing for about 3 years of my career. It was good.
Target Audience Example: American College Students Age 18 to 25
Let’s look at a different example that targets people, not companies.
You are a college student that does really well in all of your science classes. You are studying chemistry. Your online business idea is to help other students do as well as you.
There are a lot of tutorial companies out there that are established that you don’t want to compete with. So, you’ve niched down your online business idea to focus on helping students study for a specific national standardized chemistry exam.
Again, who is your target audience? Remember, I mentioned a national standardized exam. Your target audience is American College students that have to take chemistry classes. You could probably target your age range to 18 – 25. You could also take it a step further and also target College Chemistry Professors. Maybe they will recommend it to their students.
Keep in mind, you should really go a little further and deeper than what I’ve mentioned above.
Why did I use this example?
You guessed it, I did this as well. I started this one back in 2016. I have a website that helps college chemistry students prepare for a national standardized chemistry exam by giving them a practice test.
The Amount of Competition in Your Online Niche
When considering your online business idea, a proper competitor analysis is essential. You need to know what you are getting yourself into. It is incredibly important to know how much competition you have, what they are doing, and what topics or niches they cover.
By doing this, you can find the gaps your competitors haven’t filled. This gives you the ability to compete with them and can make you a very formidable competitor.
What Your Competitors Are Doing?
This is a great question to ask yourself. We’ve already touched on it a bit, but we can take it a little further.
By studying what your competitors are doing, you can better understand and make decisions regarding what you are going to do. In addition to filling any niche gaps that they’ve missed, you can also compare your products, services, or content to your competitors.
Make yours better!
Whatever it is, you need to make yours… better than your competitors.
You can also see where they are getting links from. Maybe you can get links from the same places.
Pay attention… This part is important.
Furthermore, you can see how well they rank, then do what you need to do to rank above them. They won’t even see you coming. One day, you might just come out of nowhere and rank above them.
You can do this if you set this as a goal. They don’t see you over there on page 12 of the Google search results. However, you’ve been watching them on page one and have the goal to rank above them. Make it happen.
They probably won’t even notice after it happens. Not until someone sees a drop in traffic to that page. Then they might look and see you there taking all that traffic they used to get.
Remember, getting noticed by your competitors is a good thing. It means you are doing a good job, reaching your goals, becoming an authority, and it opens up more opportunities for you and your online business.
The Size and Authority of Your Main Competitors
Now, if your market is saturated, and you have a lot of big competitors, I’m not saying to abandon your idea. It’s hard to find a completely untapped niche.
You will just have to try your best to MAKE YOURS BETTER…
It takes a little longer and will be a lot more work in a more saturated market. But it’s absolutely doable.
Remember what I said before about having really good products, services, or content? A good way to do that is to try to make yours better than the competition. Whatever it is. If you do that, in most cases, you should be able to get a piece of the pie.
However, your should always consider starting off by niching down in your topic or industry. Again, find those small gaps in the industry that your competitors haven’t filled.
Fill those first, then as you become an authority in your industry, you can start to compete with some of the bigger, broader topics in your industry. Especially if you build your audience as you grow.
How Your Smaller Competitors Are Succeeding
If there’s any smaller competitors in your industry that are succeeding, look at what they are doing. These might be the most important competitors to look at.
Remember, they are like you. They are small, just like you. They are small, just starting up, and are successfully competing against the bigger competitors that are an authority on your industry.
Look at what they are doing, and try your best to do better. Any competitors that are small but succeeding are a great starting point for you to target and learn from.
Loving Your Online Business AND the Niche
I am a strong believer in loving what you do. I think that everyone should be able to do what they love. However, studies and statistics are more important than what I think or feel.
Studies have suggested that people who start an online business doing something they love, are much more likely to succeed. When people start online businesses in something they don’t know or don’t love doing, they are much more likely to fail.
If you think about it, it makes sense. If you hate cats, why would you start a cat blog? Even if there’s a gap or niche there, don’t do something you don’t love.
Final Thoughts: The Successful Online Business Idea
It’s always great if you have a way to determine if you have a successful online business idea. Although you can’t guarantee the success of the idea, there are some things you can do to determine your idea’s potential for success.
Does it solve a problem or fulfill a need for someone?
Are there any gaps in the market you can fill?
What is the result of your competitor analysis?
Are other small competitors succeeding?
Does your online business idea have a completely untapped niche in the market?
Once you determine that your online business idea has the potential for success, make a plan to execute your idea. If you can test it on a small scale first… do it.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment so we can talk about it. Good luck in your ventures!