Steps to Start an Online Business
- Research Your Competition
The first step in starting your online business is to do your research and learn more about how to start an online business. You may go onto forums and read up on topics related to what you want to do. Remember that performing a market research is crucial for any business and most importantly, look at your competitors. Find out the businesses which sells similar products or services as you are and identify if you are doing the same as well or you have something special that they do not have. By doing this, you can opt to be different from the already existing businesses and you can learn a lot from them and may apply them onto your business as well.
- Determine your product and business nature
Probably one of the most challenging part is to determine what is it that you want to sell, and every great product starts with an idea. You can start by brainstorming on every possible idea you can think of and list them down. Then, you can find out the niche of each product and how will it be a good solution to the customer’s needs. This is where you will also need to determine your brand image. A brand image is essential to let your customer recognize you and turn them into repeat customers.
There are different types of online business so you will need to determine your business nature and what do you want to sell. Some of the examples are as follow:
- Physical products – You may sell physical products like bags or phone accessories through your e-commerce website.
- Digital Products – You may sell digital products like an e-Book, which can be done through a promotional landing page.
- Services – You may also sell services that you are capable of doing such as photography, through your portfolio website.
- Other business products-You can sell other business’ products and get commission, such as affiliate or reseller.
After determining your products, it is advisable to remind yourself on why you want to start an online business, and this is where writing down a viable business plan is a good move. The reason for doing this is because the business plan is a declaration of the purpose for your business and the value of why your business exist.
- Register your business with Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM)
An online business needs to be registered just like a regular business. By registering your business, you can reap the advantageous structures in place which are put there to assist businesses, and this include a credible image, tax incentives and perpetual succession.
The Companies Commission of Malaysia or known locally as Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM) is the statutory body that regulates corporate and business affairs in Malaysia.
To start your online business legally and valid in Malaysia, you will need to register your business with SSM. After figuring out which type of business you are going to run, you are required to proceed with the registration by submitting a completed Business Registration Form (Form A) along with a copy of your Identity Card, permit or supporting letters (if any), and the necessary payment. The registration can be done at the nearest SSM office or via their online portal. Upon registration, you will receive your Business Registration Certificate.
- Open a business bank account
It is advisable to open a business bank account in order for you to keep your personal and business finances separately. This is especially important if you are running a partnership where the business is owned by 2 or more people, since there will be a few them having access to the bank account.
By now you should probably have a proper idea of what your business is going to be and who are you targeting. After having a proper and legit registration of your business, you can now set your online business by getting a domain name and email address.
A domain name is a custom web address that every website must have. After having your business registered in Malaysia, you will be given a unique business registration number. With this, you will be able to register a ‘.com.my’ domain which looks more localized and credible in Malaysia.
Usually, a company-branded email is more credible than a business using a free email account. Having a business email address which ends with ‘@yourdomain.com can build credibility and trust among consumers.
After getting these done, you can start designing your website. You can use existing built-in web builder with hosting plans or outsource the design and development work to an experienced web designing company or freelancers. Remember, design your website like dressing up yourself and take note of the design quality which can influence your business.
When it comes to content, make sure you have only relevant information in your website and keep it clear, simple and straightforward.
By now you should have a proper and working online website for your business.
Starting an online business can be challenging but has full potential for development as the e-commerce sector provides a wide range of possibilities for all entrepreneurs in Malaysia. If you have decided to enter this appealing world, it is best to stay passionate in your business and be persistent in your effort. Hence, be prepared to work hard and create a sustainable online business that offers you a substantial income every month.