8 Steps to a Thriving Online Business

Starting an online business is easy and costs very little. Making money and thriving is more difficult. Those who succeed have learned to experiment, think in terms of revenue streams, and be persistent. Most businesses start slowly and pick up speed as they go.
Start with these 8 steps to build a solid foundation for your business. Once one revenue stream is optimized and ready for autopilot, you can repeat the steps to build your next one. Keep doing this and soon you will have a thriving online business.
Select Your Specialty
The internet is a huge place with millions, even billions of people. Your challenge is to find a specific group of people who want to buy your products. Your specialty defines your niche market. You may have a particular set of skills that define your specialty, or you may have an interesting way of looking at something new. Select something you are enthusiastic about. Let your enthusiasm show and you will likely attract the people you want.
Choose Your Money Stream
There are many ways to make money on the internet. You can create and sell your own products. Another option is to be an affiliate marketer, where you earn a commission selling products created by other people. Professional bloggers earn money in a number of ways, including getting paid for advertising. Start with one money stream that appeals to you. Work with it until it works for you. Once you have your money stream working, you can expand it or add more streams.
Set Up Your Website
A website is important for the success of most online businesses. Get a domain and hosting plan. Think about the pages you will need for your website. Add blogging software so you can easily publish and change content. With the tools available today, you can easily create and manage your own website. Or you can hire someone to build your website for you.
Build Your Attraction Content
Valuable free content will attract your customers and keep them coming back. Think about what they will find useful and interesting. Pay special attention to what visitors will find on the home page. There are many ways you can build attraction content. You can create your own or pay someone to write it. Free content is also an option. Look for articles on just about any subject on a variety of article engines on the internet. You can also find a wealth of information in the public domain.
Create Your Offer
Once people come to your website, you want them to buy something. This is where your offer comes in. It must attract attention, handle all of their objections and, ideally, be so good that it is impossible to resist. A great headline is the most important part of your offer. Let people experience your product as they read the offer. Get to the emotional benefits by describing the problem and showing how you solve it. Include testimonials and reinforce your benefits. Make it very easy to buy. If you have selected affiliate marketing as your money stream, look for vendors with irresistible offers.
Start Marketing
Once your website is set up and ready for customers, you have many options for attracting them. Use keywords in your website to get good search engine placement. You can also place ads within search engines. Use social networking to spread the word. Maintain an active blog. Submit it to blog directories. Set up an RSS feed so people can get your posts automatically. Have a newsletter subscription on your site. Use your newsletter to stay in touch with customers. Track each of your marketing initiatives. Find ways to improve them and to expand the ones that work best for you.
Manage Your Business
Systems and measurement are critical to staying in touch with how your business is doing. As your business starts to grow, make sure you have easy, simple ways to track what is happening. Keep track of sales, revenue, income and expenses. There is a saying, “what gets measured gets done.” Think about the specifics of your business. For example, measuring sources of traffic to your site can help you improve your marketing. You will also want a file for all of your key contacts. Make sure you have everything you need for financial reporting and for getting a snapshot of what is happening in your business.
Tweak and Grow
One of the mantras of marketing is “test, test, test.” Once you have attracted customers and have started selling, go back and test everything. Look for ways to improve your marketing. Look for ways to improve your offer. Interact with your customers to find out what they like about you. Find ways to give them more of what they like and to improve or eliminate things they don not like. Tune your business until your offers bring in the most possible revenue and your customers are delighted.
Once your first business or revenue stream is humming along, set what you can on autopilot. Now set up your next revenue stream. Go back and repeat steps 1 through 8. You know a lot more than you did before, so things will go much more quickly. Get your next revenue stream up and running, and so on. Soon you will have a thriving business coupled with a great lifestyle and a sense of fulfillment.