By Vlad Falin: Vlad Falin reviews the best online business tools on the internet and shares his insights with followers at www.costofincome.com.
There are many uncertainties when you are launching a brick and mortar type of business. You can plan and predict, but reality may be very different when you actually launch.
I heard a great business rule a couple years ago. It was related to business plans – “Multiply the costs by two, divide the revenues by three.” So whatever the number on your business plan is, multiply the costs and divide the revenues.
It is always better to be safe than sorry.
When we plan a “classic” business there are many things to take into account. Overhead costs, personal costs, capital expenditures. On top of that you have to have a budget to reach the customers. Many months, in some cases even years, will pass before you will turn profit.
This is why online business is popular and more money is moving to online. The costs associated with the business are very low. Also the speed of everything is just impossible to compare. You can be up and running in a few days, in contrast to b&m business where it would take several months just to negotiate an office or a shop location.
Since you are reading this article, it means that you are interested in moving your existing business online, or considering new niches.
There are several angles on how you can either start business online, or move a portion of your business to the digital world.
Start with Google Trends
One of the great tools that is available for free is Google Trends. You can check the overall search volumes and compare them.
Since the USA is one of the top markets to sell anything, we will take it as a base for our research. It took us a few minutes to see that spanish is the most popular option in US, followed by french, german mandarin and hindu.
2. Continue with Google Adwords
Taking it one step further, you can register to Google Adwords (paid ads on Google) and check for more detailed search there. On this part of Google you can go into details of the keywords and market niches that you are going to target.
If we dig deeper we will discover that keywords related to french are 15% cheaper than those related to learning spanish. That may already give us a hint on how to proceed.
But what if we are not looking for paid ads but rather want to rank organically?
3. Analyze the organic top results on Google.
If you would like to take it another step further I would suggest getting Ahrefs. This tool will allow you to really go into depth on your competitors. You will be able to see how difficult it will be to get to the front pages of Google and many other useful metrics that will help you to better understand your own website and websites of others.
Let’s continue with our examples of Spanish and french. As the goal is just to illustrate how easily can you do your research, we will stick with “learn Spanish” and “learn French”. For in depth analysis you would of course try “learn Spanish online, learn Spanish fast, how to learn Spanish” etc.
You can see that while the difficulty to rank amongst the top 10 results on google (defined by “Keyword difficulty”) ,”learn Spanish” has more than double searches in the USA and is also bigger globally.
Therefore your may come to a conclusion that is would make more sense to go more actively with Spanish, since it will be similar work but…
4. Analyze the competition.
Now let’s have a look at who you will be competing with. Just pop the search term into google and have a look at top results. Keep in mind that nearly 96% of people do not go past the first page of Google.
The position of the website in google searches for a particular query is given by many factors covered under the topic of SEO aka search engine optimization. The most important ones are backlinks to your page, content quality and overall onsite and offsite SEO.
Look at the top results, see what they are doing and how could you do it better. Is it realistic to be ranked amongst them in 6 month? 1 Year? These all should go into consideration when planning your entrance into the digital world.
Other ideas to start doing business online.
You do not have to throw yourself at completely moving online. There is always a possibility to go with small steps.
Our language example would be a great fit with various webinar software platforms. Where you can teach private classes or scale it up to tens or hundreds of online students.
Or you can digitize a portion of your marketing by text and mms marketing. Alternatively if you are looking to do small steps into the world of digital business, you may want to hire a digital marketing agency to help you with your online promotion.
There are many options, and one common denominator is relatively low cost of entry and overall investments that you will have to commit.