How to Start a Business

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Whether you are starting an online business or a brick-and-mortar model, figuring out how to start a business, at its most basic, means finding a market need and then filling it. The steps required to reach the customer and build a business can depend on many factors, such as finding the appropriate marketplace, building an easy-to-use ecommerce website, establishing a good sales reputation and using search engine optimization to drive traffic to your site.

Here are some of the very basics:

  • Find a need and fill it. To boost your chances of success, start by finding a market -- a group of people searching for a solution to a problem and aren't finding many results.

  • Design and build your website. Keep it simple. You have fewer than five seconds to grab someone's attention.

  • Write copy that sells. There's a proven sales-copy formula that leads customers from the moment they arrive at your site to the moment they make a purchase. Focus on how your product or service is uniquely able to solve people's problems or make their lives better.

  • Use search engines to drive targeted buyers to your site. Pay-per-click advertising is the easiest to get traffic to a new site. You can also use these types of ads to discover your best, highest-converting keywords.

  • Establish a reputation for yourself online. Provide your expert information for free to other sites, and you'll see more traffic and better search rankings. Be sure to include links back to your website.

  • Use email marketing to turn visitors into buyers. On your website, you can ask visitors for their email addresses. When you build an opt-in list, you're creating one of the most valuable assets of your online business. These are people who have expressed an interest in your product or service and who you can market to directly.

  • Always follow up. At least 36 percent of people who have purchased from you once will buy from you again if you follow up with them.