Starting an Online Business—A Map

Starting an Online Business—A Map

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Starting an online business, or bringing your offline business online, is a lot like trying to take a sip of water and finding yourself drowning in the middle of the ocean. It’s hard to come up for air, and it is hard to orient yourself when you do come up.

I know because that’s the process I’ve begun. I have built several offline businesses successfully and figured I could use that experience to build an online business pretty easily. Boy, was I wrong! It may seem obvious, but an online business is a whole different world. And the Online Startup Manual that I want isn’t readily available, at least not that I’ve found. There are tremendous resources on the Internet, to be sure, but they are fragmented and piecemeal. There’s very little in the way of a coherent roadmap to help you along this journey.

My goal is to fix that.

I am beginning a new series of blog posts to provide a map, a simple guide and framework for people who are just starting out online and are interested in a step by step guide. Think of this series as Online Business 101. With this series I am going not going to try to convince you that you should be online. If you’re reading this I will assume you are already convinced.  I will try to convince you to try certain things, do certain things, avoid doing other things, and share your experience with me and your fellow readers.  I help you, you help me, we all help each other. Deal? Ken Blanchard wisely said that “none of us is as smart as all of us.”

So where to begin? When I was an undergraduate I had a marketing textbook with a picture of a dump truck in it. And on the side of the dump truck was painted the phrase, “find a hole and fill it.” I think that’s as good as any place to begin this journey. How do you find a hole? The right hole? A hole that someone would pay to fill?

Food for thought: what is a problem you have? A personal problem or a business problem? A real problem. A problem you’d be willing to pay to resolve?

Homework: Write down 5 problems you have and 5 problems your business has. The more painful the problems, the better.

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