Traditional brick and mortar businesses often required inventories, cash registers, signage and building leases.
The Internet offered a more streamlined approach for a start-up business; a domain name, hosting account, content and graphics.
The actual service or product provider could now be a third-party.
There are many benefits to starting an online business.
The real power of the Internet as a marketing channel can be best illustrated by considering that a person operating a computer out of a spare bedroom can reach a worldwide customer base.
No other medium lends itself to this kind of opportunity and potential.
Online Business Opportunities can Only Increase Another enormous benefit is the availability of marketing resources available online and the great potential for analyzing marketing campaigns, site visitor behavior and sales efforts.
Advertising can be approached in a number of ways based on budget and the target audience.
According to a September 2008 article in Entrepreneur magazine, online sales are growing at three-times the rate of traditional brick and mortar store sales.
The same article stated that nine out of ten shoppers had switched to more Internet-based shopping because of the price of gas.
A quarter of the people in the poll stated that they do as much of their shopping online as possible.
This bodes very well for the online business model.
Guiding Principles for an Internet Business An online business does share some similarities with a traditional storefront business.
You still need to treat your customers fairly and with reverence.
You should have clearly stated policies that dictate how you do business and what customers can expect.
It should be easy to do business with you.
These simple tenets will help build your brand and reputation.
One of the surest means to success with an Internet business is to find a niche market that is under-served or an area where you have special expertise or knowledge.
Filling one of these niches, where there is not a lot of competition, can help an Internet start-up business find a ready audience.
This may be one of the single best ideas for starting a successful Internet business.
It is a time-proven principle.
Online Business Basics Some of the basic components of an online business include a business plan, a product or service, a hosting provider and domain name, marketing partners, business bank account, and in some cases, some type of e-commerce merchant service and/or a fulfillment service.
One big advantage of an Internet business is the capitalization requirements.
Under-capitalization is what sinks many new brick and mortar businesses.
Those physical businesses require big bucks for a building lease, employee salaries, physical signage and printed marketing materials.
There are also insurance costs, inventory costs, yellow pages costs and the cost of gas.
That last cost is your cost to drive to work every day.
Initial Steps to Start Your Internet Business Once you have determined a niche business that is undeserved on the Internet; think long and hard about your domain name choice.
It can provide lots of benefits with SEO and help your prospective customers find your business.
Your domain name should clearly state the business you are in or utilize a keyword or phrase that will help the search engines find you.
Include a slogan or tagline that contains a keyword or phrase also.
Beyond branding, your tagline will be seen by the search engine spiders.
Next, make certain to include a lot of content on your new website that relates directly to your product or service.
Again, include keywords or phrases in the content, especially the first paragraphs on your homepage.
Research the best keywords by using a service like the Google AdWords Keyword tool.
Include a sitemap with your website.
Use Google AdWords or a similar marketing approach to get your business noticed.
The other search engines also offer marketing programs.
Join forums related to your business and post helpful suggestions for other forum participants.
Make sure to have a profile that includes a link back to your website.
Submit useful, value-added articles to article websites with a link back to your website in your profile.
Your new customers will begin to find you after a couple of weeks.
Treat your customers right and your Internet business will grow and prosper.