There’s never been a better time to start an internet business. Although the final numbers are still trickling in, there’s no reason to believe that sales on Cyber Monday didn’t blow the previous year’s out of the water once again. More and more people are doing their shopping online, just as most people now get their brand recommendations through social networking as opposed to traditional advertising. And as quality broadband connections continue to roll out across the world, it’s easy for a mom and pop internet business to achieve an international reach on a budget. So if you’re thinking about stepping out of the salaried employee world and starting your own company, jumping on the internet to do so is a fantastic choice. But perhaps you’ve never done anything like that before and you’re a bit leery. So here’s a quick look at some recommended education and training for starting an internet business.
The first thing to get out of the way is that there’s no formula for perfect training and education in your core competency. You cannot hope to succeed in business if there isn’t something specific that you can do better than anyone else. Perhaps it’s a product you’ve created that’s wholly new within the marketplace. Maybe it’s a service you can provide that you’ve grown and developed over decades within a larger company. Whatever it is, you’ve got to have that nailed down before you launch a company, internet-based or otherwise. All else you can learn or hire others to handle.
With that firmly in hand, it’s time to turn your attention to the platform. The vast majority of the time you can hire others to handle the web development. But if your business is going to involve an extensive e-commerce site, you’re going to want to know how to work it. Make sure you choose a hosting service that includes tutorials that walk your through each element. On top of that you might want to take a couple of continuing education classes on programming or web design. You don’t need to know how to build your site from scratch, but a couple months of training will help you troubleshoot an issue and at least identify a problem when one arises. That bit of knowledge could save you money someday.
Another key element to an internet business is SEO, or search engine optimization. Basically, this is improving where your business shows up in internet searches. The goal is to come up on the first page of responses to a particular set of keywords used in a search. Proper SEO is hugely important for any internet business, and it’s no easy task. Start by heading to Google and opening an account. They have a free, detailed guide that breaks down the basics of SEO and how to apply it to your business. If that’s not quite enough for you, look for either an online course or a seminar you can take. Just make sure the people offering it are true experts, by researching the companies they’ve worked with in the past.
Finally, you’ll need to be knowledgeable in how to promote your business. Again, eventually you’ll be hiring people to handle these things, but at the beginning chances are you’ll be your own marketing manager. The goal is gaining positive visibility on the social networks, and taking advantage of paid online advertising where appropriate. Don’t go enrolling in expensive MBA programs just to do this right. But there are online courses you can take. Yet the best training may be trial and error. Check on the social media profiles of businesses and brands you enjoy. See what others in your industry are doing. Start small, and do things that create feedback so you can get quick input on their effectiveness. This element won’t make or break your business in the first year, and as long as you put in short bursts of dedicated work each and every day you’ll be fine.