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Starting a business, you say?

Whoever told you that starting a business was easy, was probably joking (we hope!) – because it is not.  And for context, we are talking about creating a business before you can actually start your business.  Are you confused yet?

When you decide to embark on the exciting world of entrepreneurship and being your own boss, we highly recommend a few key steps that will make sure you’ve set up a good foundation for success.   And trust us, the first intuition that many want to fall into is to get a website up and running and start making money.  However, take a deep breath and start acting on a few key steps.

Look at the competition

First things first.  Whichever industry or niche you want to pursue, and something that is highly overlooked, be sure that you understand the competitive landscape.  Who are your competitors?  How do they market themselves?  Where are they located?  How do they present and sell their products and services on their website or online store (which, by the way, will also give you good ideas on how to create your own website)?  In this initial step, don’t forget to also look into your local competition, especially if your services primarily cater to local communities (vs. an online website store which can broaden their scope domestically and even internationally). 

Why do this?   Well, because there’s nothing more valuable than understanding who have to compete for products and services you’re introducing to the market.  And the key here, is that it’ll allow you to think how you can create a competitive advantage and win customers over and over again.

Goals, goals, and more goals

Next up is to make sure you have a business plan.  And let’s be real, unless you have plenty of spare time, we’re not talking about pages and pages here.  The key is to make sure you understand what’s your vision – e.g., where do you want to be a year, 3 years, 5 years for now.  Jot down these goals even if they’re not fully flushed out. Another important aspect to think about is how to plan to structure your business, run, grow and evolve – for example, are you hiring any employees, freelancers to help you?  In addition:

  • Describe your business – what are the services and products that you’re selling?
  • Attracting customers – what is your marketing strategy to gain sales? Will you be using social media, ads, word of mouth, attend events and roadshows, etc.?
  • Understanding finances – how much initial capital investment do you have? Are you self-funding or planning to raise money (i.e., crowdfunding)? Or is an investor going to help jump start your business? Perhaps you’ll get a loan to get things started?
  • Look at your competition – refer back to the previous section as this will give you great insight on how you should get your business started.
  • Other considerations – there’s so much to think about, such as choosing the location(s) of your business (if needed), getting legal advice, and of course, getting your website launched (which you guessed…there’s where we come in).

And by the way, there’s also plenty of business plan templates out there you can download and tweak for your needs.  Here’s a nice one to look at.

Choosing the business structure

Now that you’ve done most of the initial homework, it’s time to choose how your business will be structured.   And to be clear, this needs to be done regardless of whether you are running a website business (online store) or brick and mortar business.

There are a handful of structures you can choose from, but here are a few to think about:

  • Sole proprietorship – this is the easiest and simplest business to set up, and in this structure, you’re considered to be the only owner. This also means that personal assets and liabilities are not separated out from business assets and liabilities.  And you can also choose a trade name (such as Doing Business As, DBA) so that your business name is not your name, for example.  This is a great option that provides low risk and can be best suited for a small business being run by you and only you.
  • Partnership – as the name implies, this is when two or more people are going into the business together. This is a great choice for the type of business structure that combines two or more owners with share responsibility– say you and a good friend that you trust.
  • Limited liability company (LLC) – this is perhaps one of our favorite structures, because it protects personal assets and liabilities from business assets from liabilities (contrary to a sole proprietorship). With a LLC, you’re also able to have two or more owners.  This structure is a good choice for small, medium business with some higher risks at stake.
  • Corporation – also known as C corp, this structure separates its owners and is considered a legal entity. As such, C corps are taxed are subject to being legally liable.  In addition, cost to maintain this type of business is higher and required a more rigorous operations infrastructure, reporting, etc.  This is definitely a great choice for medium to large business that want to eventually want to go public with shareholders.
  • S Corp – this is essentially a special kind of corporation (c corp) but it’s structured in a way that avoids the double taxation that happens with C corps but this type of business also needs to meet certain eligibility requirements. This is a good choice for businesses that would be a C corp but that qualify as S corps.

Aside from these structures, there are a few other to consider.  To learn more about business structures, we recommend checking this page.  And off you go!

More business stuff

As you continue on your journey to start a business, there are a few more critical things to consider.

  • Choosing your business name – this is the fun part…be creative but also don’t overthink it. At the end of the day you want to make sure your future leads will want to know the products and services you provide right away by reading your business name or visiting your website.  Pro tip:  make sure that the web domain is available as the last thing you want is to create a business name where the website domain is not it – yikes!
  • Registration – now it’s time to register your business with your state and federal government. In here, please be sure to check the rules and regulations of the state you live in to see what requirements are needed to get you up and running without any hiccups.  For more info, check this article out.
  • State and Federal tax IDs – again, depending on your business structure, state and federal regulations, you’ll need to secure these type of IDs for tax purposes, paying employees, etc.
  • Licenses & Permits ­­­­– though not the most exciting part, applying for licenses and permits is critical in ensuring your business is legally compliant. And the type of licenses and permits necessary vary by state, industry, location and other variables.  Here’s a great checklist to start off with.
  • Bank Account ­– now to the fun part, is opening a business account so the money can flow in, right? Consider a business checking account, debit cards, and credit cards that will give you some purchasing power to start your business.
Identify your support system

As you probably sensed by now, starting a business is no small task and we sure hope we didn’t scare you away!  With hard work comes many great things too.  An important aspect that many business owners forget include:

  • Ask family and friends for help – whether it’s moral support, donations, etc. Maybe just letting you vent your frustration while grabbing a cup of coffee is what you’ll need not to be discouraged.  Either way – don’t be shy and rely on people that matter the most to you during this new chapter.
  • Join local groups – you’ll be surprised that the city or town you live in may have many resources that allow you meet other business owners that are getting started like you or that are already successful that want to share their experience. Whether it’s a Facebook group, or monthly meetups, make sure to participate and know that you’re not alone in this journey.  You can also find local assistance in this page, which lots of free resources.
  • Check out free webinars – just as the above, there is plenty of webinars (including free ones!) that you can attend pertaining to small businesses and your industry. Here’s a good start.
And at last, be real with yourself

Don’t be so hard on yourself.  After all, no business will ever be a success overnight (well, with a few exceptions) and it takes a lot of time and effort.  One approach that often helps, is to break things into smaller chunks of activities.  Set real goals for yourself every day and you’ll see that much progress will be made if you follow it rigorously – and for this we recommend the SMART goals approach.

As mentioned earlier, make sure you have a strong support system that can be your reality check, emotional support and hey, maybe even a future investor!

Need help starting a business?

Phew…that was a lot of information!  If even after reading this you feel like you could use professional help, the that’s okay.  Maybe you also don’t have the time (or patience) to deal with all the paperwork that goes along with setting up your business.  A great resource we recommend is LegalZoom.  There are tons of great resources there that will help you learn more about starting a business.

Useful Resources

There are tons, and we mean TONS, of stuff out there that will help starting your business journey.  Here are a few that we enjoy, some of which has been used throughout this article.

About Rewebnovate

We offer quality-driven web design, e-commerce, and branding solutions that are customized to our client’s needs and goals. We deeply believe in helping society, from businesses to social influencers, get up to speed with the digital world so they and attain a new level of success, on their terms. Together we’ll create a brand new online presence through our premium service offerings.

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Insights

Why WordPress is a great home for your website

Starting or revamping your online presence – be your personal brand or your business online store – is stressful as it is.  To add to it and with the ever-growing web technologies out there, you’re now faced with how to create this best possible website for your target audience.   Good news…worry not – this is where we come in to help.

With over 15 years of web development experience, and after a meticulous and extensive research and analysis, we’ve chosen what we believe is the best web development platform to fulfill our client’s needs – WordPress.  In fact, this is a Content Management System (CMS) which basically means you can easily create, manage and modify content without having advanced technical skills.  But don’t get us wrong…any one can be a website these days, but the ability to tailor to your needs, make stand out, and attract potential leads is a whole different story.  And again, this is where we come in to help.

Now, you must be asking, why this solution.  Here are a few good reasons why.

Mature

This solution has been around the block for quite a while, and it has grown to be one of the most popular CMS for web development – may it be for bloggers, business owners, freelancers, and you name it!  In fact, WordPress has a mature ecosystem that allows you to expand based on your growing needs and as your business grows.  Keep on reading…

Flexible

One of the best things we love about WordPress is how flexible the platform is.  For one, there are TONS of plugins, which means you have the ability to extend the functionality of your website drastically.  One of our favorites ones is WooCommerce, and this allows your website to transform into a full-blown online store to track & fulfill orders, and to immerse your target audience into your wonderful products and services.

Fast

Let’s get real…the goal here is to launch your online presence as quickly as possible, without of course compromising quality.  With WordPress, we can do just that.  Building the framework is just one aspect though, and it’s very important that you do your homework so that we can increase your website’s time-to-market.  After all, time is money!  Learn more about how to get prepared to create or revamp your online presence.

Secure

Obviously, in this day and age, the last thing anyone wants is to get their website hacked.  For that reason, this is an absolute top of mind for us and WordPress as well.   There are always WordPress releases that are not only enhancing features, but also security.  When you engage with us, we’ll automatically backup your website on our secure servers as well as update it with the latest WordPress version so that everything will be up to date and good to go.   Now that’s peace of mind!

Learn more about our web strategy and design services and all the awesome things we can do together.

User Friendly

Who doesn’t like a great user experience?!  WordPress has a simple interface that allows us to quickly get you up and running.  Not only that, but search engines love WordPress and it’s SEO friendly – that is, Search Engine Optimization.  This allows search crawlers to index your website with ease and give it higher chances of ranking higher in search results.  But don’t be fooled…there is a work to do behind the scenes to get your website ready to go and we’re here to help

Collaborative & Cost Savings

Another great feature of WordPress, is the ability to collaborate on low complex (e.g., content updates, new blog posts, etc.) website updates without knowing a thing about web development.  This means that you don’t have to engage with an agency like ours for every single web update – yes, you read this right.  This means that we’ll give you access to the site (of course, we’ll train you) and you will be able to update certain parts of you website at your own, and, at the same time, save money!  In other words, we’ll provide you with white label access so that you have access any time.

Additionally, we can provide access to your team to be able to make updates as well – also known as white label access.  This will allow you to determine roles that your team will have when making these simple website updates.   Learn more about this cool feature included in our web strategy and design services

Still not convinced?

At the time this article was published, an outstanding 38% of all web is powered by WordPress.  Just saying…

Too good to be true, right?  No!  But, in all truth, if your online presence requires a highly customizable and complex development (think database management, intricate data-driven implementation, etc.), then this solution may not be the right one for you – and we surely won’t sell it to you.  Instead, let’s have a chat and figure out the best way to get you up and running

About Rewebnovate

We offer quality-driven web design, e-commerce, and branding solutions that are customized to our client’s needs and goals. We deeply believe in helping society, from businesses to social influencers, get up to speed with the digital world so they and attain a new level of success, on their terms. Together we’ll create a brand new online presence through our premium service offerings.

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Tips

Overwhelmed in the digital world? Awesome tips for your online store.

Totally.  Running an online store, and all that comes with it, can be overwhelming.  How do you attract potential buyers?  How do I ensure the best possible buying experience?  How can I retain customers so they come keep coming back for more? These are all great questions to ask, and we’ll tackle them one at a time when you’re ready to engage with us.

The good news…here are some great tips to keep in mind, and that we believe we’ll elevate the shopping experience of your new and existing clients.

Brand Identity

Never forget that your brand is of upmost importance – without it, you’re quickly going to lose confidence and trust of any potential clients.  And just like many things in life, first impressions matter!  For that reason, make sure that your logo is sharp, and that it’s well positioned in your homepage.  Why?  Because clients will be able to associate your products and/or services with it – it’ll either trigger a good or bad experience whenever they see it.  As always, we are here to help.  Check out our brand identity services to learn how we can help.

Call to Action

 This means that your potential clients should know what’s happening with your online store as soon as they visit it.  For example, are you having a special sale (e.g., 25% off any product) or did you just launch a new product or service you want them to know about?  Be clear on how you want your clients to experience your site and what is easily visible for them to act upon.

Security

 Making sure your site is secure and safe to shop is paramount.  It doesn’t matter how attractive, cool-looking or cost-friendly your product and/or service is, if users don’t feel safe they won’t pay.  End of story.  A way we can help you with is making sure your online store has a SSL certificate, or Secure Sockets Layer, (and basically has a “lock” icon next to the web address in the browser address bar).  All that to say that once such a certificate is in place, it means your online store is as secure as it can be and any data that you enter is safely shared with the website.  And this is crucial as your clients are entering credit card information to make a purchase.

Navigation

This may seem like an easy one, but not always.  In a nutshell, do not make it harder for your shoppers to buy your products and/or services.  Your site navigation (or in other words, menu bar) needs to be easy to find (usually at the top by the logo) and simple.  Don’t clutter your navigation with too much information that will hinder the shopping experience.  A good way to organize products and/ or services is by creating categories, so that users can browse by product or by entire product categories.  Along with that, we highly recommend having a “search” option so that users can easily find products – especially important if you’re selling a bunch of products.

Product Showcase

 Related to the call to action we’ve already mentioned, it’s important to call out featured products, mostly seem in only store homepages.  This will instantly attract users to look at, for example, new products, products on sale, or even a special category of products.  Be sure to reserve a spot in your online store to make such product showcase section prominent.

Discounts, and more discounts

Seriously…who doesn’t love discounts?!  An easy way to entice your potential clients to make a purchase is to give them a discounted price – whether they’re seasonal (e.g., Christmas), a special event (e.g., online store grand opening, or new product launch), or just because.  Feel free to get as creative as possible (hint: adding a pop-up as users first enter your site, or a discount section in your homepage are great choices), but don’t get too carried away as this strategy may backfire.  This means if you’re giving way too many discounts, then users will always expect and not buy knowing that a discount may be coming.  So, find a balance and choose specific periods where it makes sense to have discounts.

Gift Cards

 Another strategy to drive more sales is making gift cards available as a product and/or service.  Simply put, gift cards allow your clients to help sell your products to family and friends!  Also, as with any gift card, this tactic will help your clients not to guess what to gift and better yet, avoid, any future refunds and returns since the receiver is buying exactly what they want.  Need we say more?!

Email Marketing Campaigns

We cannot stress email marketing enough.  Read this: e-mail is not dead and will not be dead anytime soon, if ever!  As a best practice, always reserve a “newsletter sign up” section in your online store homepage – it doesn’t have to be front and center, but visible enough to attempt to collect email addresses.  However, also make it interesting for users to want to sign up – for example, provide them with a 15% discount for their first-time purchase if they sign up.  Once you get a healthy list, then you’ll be able to start creating and sending ongoing newsletter with updates, new product launches, discounted products, sales, etc. to help you make that sale.  A word of caution is not overdo newsletter deployments – no one likes to be spammed and if you end up sending too many emails you’ll end up losing more potential buyers than gaining.  The good news – we can help you with email campaigns.  Check out our web strategy and design services.

Pricing

No one likes surprises, and because of that, be very clear about your pricing model.  Call out costs such as shipping, taxes, and international fees, so that users are clear about their full cost – or else they may abandon their purchase completely and worse yet, never come back.  Another way to be clear of prices, is to provide incentives that may reduce their costs – for example, free shipping in the United States for orders about $50 (which, by the way, can be visible as a banner right above your online store’s header).  Also worth mentioning, be sure it’s clear the currency you’re charging your clients, may it be US dollars, Euros, etc.

Payment Options

Related to pricing, is also to make it easy for shoppers to buy from you and avoid surprises.  The last thing you want as an online store owner is to have your sale abandoned because you can only accept one payment type.  As mentioned earlier on, be sure to avoid surprises and be clear about what type of payments you accept – whether it be Visa, Mastercard, etc.  A good way to make this clear, is to display payment types accepted in the footer of your website.  So, let’s make it easy for you to get paid!

Reviews

 As more users shop online, having your product and/or service reviewed is important.  In fact, a good or bad review can directly influence potential users from making that purchase.  This is logical – would you rather purchase from an online store with constantly good reviews or from an online store selling similar products with constantly bad reviews?  We won’t answer this!  Another point to be made is to leverage email marketing (refer to “Email Marketing Campaigns” section) and encourage shoppers who have previously made a purchase to review the product and/ or service – and give them that extra push by providing them with a discount code after they made the review.  Lastly, make it easy for your users to review products, which is usually one with a 5-start rating next to each product they’ve purchased or thinking about purchasing.

Get Social

In this day and age, having a social media presence is critical to the success of your online presence.  Whether you’re selling products or services, social medial will inevitably create stronger engagement with your target audience.  Yes, this means more work and content generation for you, but it also may very well mean more sales! To help get the word around about your online store is to have social media “share” links next to each product or service you sell so that users can share those to their network.  Also, be sure to have social media icons easily accessible to your potential clients – usually done at the header or footer of your online store, and don’t forget to add them to your newsletters (refer to “Email Marketing Campaigns” section above).  Remember, the goal here is to expand your sales and have your shoppers help YOU sell.  Be as innovative as you like in this space – running social media contests is a great way to engage with your audience (e.g., every user that tags five of their friends in one of your posts will get a 10% discount towards their next purchase).

Checkout

 As we’ve mentioned several times, make it easy to sell.  So, make sure that you have a shopping cart that easily accessible (usually by the menu bar at the header) and this will facilitate your users making that purchase.  Equally important is to make the checkout process simple, simple, and simple!  Do not force users to create an account if they don’t want to, and instead allow them to purchase “as a guest”.  Keep in mind that you can still collect their email by adding an optional “newsletter sign up” checkbox as they’re checking out.  Also, only have data that is important for users to make the purchase – the less information the less likely they will abandon their shopping cars.  Read through the “Cart Abandonment” section below to learn more about tips to potentially salvage that sales!

Cart Abandonment

As an online store owner, you can’t always expect sales to be made just because potential clients are adding products to your website’s shopping cart (although it would be nice).  In fact, and we don’t mean to scare you, the average cart abandonment rate is a little over 68%.  Yikes!  What may lead to such astonishing number is poor usability of your online store and for not properly addressing items that we’re discussing in this article.  Now the good news…you can convert some these cart abandonments into sales.  A good way to do this is through email marketing (refer to “Email Marketing Campaigns” section above) and target users who have not completed their purchases.  Through this method, you can also encourage to close the sale by offering discounts. 

Responsiveness

 We can’t stress this enough, but simply said, your online store must be nicely displayed in any device – may it be a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile.  In fact e-commerce will get to $845 billion 2022 – and mobile commerce, or m-commerce, will drive almost 50% of those e-commerce sales in 2022!  If this doesn’t get you excited and extra motivation to have your online store be responsive, I don’t know what will!

About YOU

A page that’s is often underestimated is the About Us page. Why?  Because many users like to know who they’re buying from.  Knowing who’s behind the online store, their background and understanding their story may make users at ease when buying from you.  Also worth mentioning is an image of you, or a team photo can go a long way and may just create a “human” connection between you and the user behind the screen.  Lastly, make the story real and genuine – share why your online store exists today and what your mission is.   Read the next section (“Find a Cause”) for additional content you may want to add to this page.

Find a Cause

This means that you’re helping the community – either locally or to a broader region.  Whether you’re passionate about a cause (helping children, environment) or if you want to align a cause to your products and/or services, you’ll certainly increase your clients’ loyalty when they know you’re helping for a cause.  Make this visible in your online store – and the “About Us” page is a great way to share with the world (refer to “About YOU” section above).  Another good way to promote this is during the checkout process (refer to the “Checkout” section above), and by adding a section where users can select how much they want to donate.  How cool is that?!

And finally…Don’t Settle!

And last but not least, don’t settle!  As an online store owner and primary ambassador of your brand, you need to keep on evolving your website – may it be with a new product line, or with a better shopping experience as you learn more about your target audience behavior.

As always, we’re here to help with all of your online store needs.  Let’s have a chat to get started with your online store or take it to the next level.

About Rewebnovate

We offer quality-driven web design, e-commerce, and branding solutions that are customized to our client’s needs and goals. We deeply believe in helping society, from businesses to social influencers, get up to speed with the digital world so they and attain a new level of success, on their terms. Together we’ll create a brand new online presence through our premium service offerings.

Categories
Tips

What to do before creating or revamping your online presence.

We get it…doing homework doesn’t always sound that appealing, but it can certainly go a long way. In the web development world, this is certainly the case.

In many instances, we’ve come across situations and a false perception that creating and launching a website is as easy or quick as turning a magical switch (and believe us, we wish we had such a switch!).

From our extensive experience in web development, creating not only content, but a relevant and attractive content, is absolutely one of the most time-consuming tasks when launching your online presence. This means that you have to really think about a good balance of content that won’t bore (or even scare) your target audience while, at the same time, balance it with visually appealing images that make sense. As it has been said before, content is king and picture is worth a 1,000 words.

With that, here are a few things you ought to think about before even engaging with an agency like ours – and of course, we’re here to help you along the way with questions and as your website comes into fruition.

Content Creation

As previously mentioned, you need to create you content. While we don’t provide content creation services yet, there are tons of web content creation services out there (and hey, we may even start offering this in the future or partnering with an agency to make your life even simpler). As you’re creating your content, think about a few things:

  • Target audience – think about who your potential users are, as this is critical to make your content relevant and enticing. Are you targeting a specific user group, region or demographics?
  • Competitors – especially if you’re selling a product or service, make sure that you understand your competitors. Who are they and what’s their competitive advantage? What to their website look like and how are they engaging with their potential clients? Be sure that you do some “stalking” so that you can learn how they work and how they’re positioned in the online market you’re about to embark on. When engaging with us, we’ll also do some competitive research for you, but knowing your competitors will certainly help and go a long way.
  • Don’t beat around the bush – potential visitors have a short time span, and for that reason, make content easy to read, simple and short. In other words, get to the point quick and drive them to a specific set of actions such as, for example, to help drive a purchase of your product
  • Keywords – these are a small set of crucial keywords that will help your website with search engine optimization, or SEO. While you don’t want to get carried away using keywords in every sentence, you do need to plug keywords in your content to help you rank better – search engines love this! And, research for the right keywords is an essential part of finding the right keyword. This is where we can come in and help – check out our web strategy and design services.
  • Think big picture – as you start creating your content, you need to think about your site layout, and, of course, we’ll certainly help you. For example, what pages do you want? Do you want to capture potential client e-mail addresses? What type of experience are you looking for?
  • Brand Identity – your brand is everything…it’s your reputation and it’s what will set you apart from your competitors and, by the way, the reason why customers will come back for more, OR not come back. This means having a logo, and thinking about how you want to brand your web presence is essential to survive in the online world. Also, this means you need to have a consistent color palette and an established typography (think font styles, weights, etc.) on your website so that it doesn’t look like carnival when users come to your website. The good news is that we’ll handle this for you: check out our brand identity services.
  • Responsiveness – everyone, and I mean everyone, is on their mobile devices, may it be their cell phone or tablets. In fact, there are 2022 predictions that at least 50% of all e-commerce sales will come from mobile. For that reason, and especially if you’re planning on launching your online shop, you must think about responsiveness – this means that your website has a great experience whether you’re on a laptop, table, or mobile. When creating content think about the overall user experience, and we’ll take care of the rest.
  • Get Social – these days being social is a must…yes, we mean Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on. Be sure to create your social media presence, and that these profiles are also cross linking with your website. With millions of active users in social platforms, don’t forget that social media is a fantastic avenue not only to engage with clients but also to enable sale opportunities.

Lastly, and to help you through your online journey, download our simple questionnaire so you can think about your long and short term goals. This exercise is great and will go along way! And…you’ll get extra points if you have this questionnaire filled out when you engage with us. Let’s get started.

About Rewebnovate

We offer quality-driven web design, e-commerce, and branding solutions that are customized to our client’s needs and goals. We deeply believe in helping society, from businesses to social influencers, get up to speed with the digital world so they and attain a new level of success, on their terms. Together we’ll create a brand new online presence through our premium service offerings.