With the rapid digitization in the country, connecting with people has become easier than ever. And the increased connectivity and digitization of processes, have opened a host of opportunities for small and large scale businesses. But not just the SMEs, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have made it possible for people to start a business right from the comfort of their home. For some, it can be a source of side income and for others, it can be a full-scale earning source. However, there are some essential steps that you need to follow to make sure your business kicks off on the right note. So, how to start your online business from home? Let's take a look.
How to start an online business from home
Identifying the Business Idea
The first and foremost thing to be considered is the business idea. As a business that is effectively going to be run from home, what business would be most feasible? Not just home, it also depends on other factors like what you are an expert in. For example, if you have no experience in cooking but want to run a food business, that would not be very fruitful.
In the context of Bangladesh, the most profitable business ideas are dropshipping and home cooking. There is a huge demand for online-based products that can be easily availed as home delivery instead of scouring physical marketplaces. Part of the increased interest in online shopping is attributed to the pandemic situation. However, you can play on your expertise and comfort zone and come up with a business idea depending on the demand and size of the online market.
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Setting up a Platform
This stage of the business needs to be accomplished in two steps. The first one is using the existing platforms and the second is setting up a personal platform. As a home business, the priority should be to minimize the cost associated with business operation. The existing platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be used to showcase the product as well as sell them. The number of users on these platforms in Bangladesh is comparatively higher. So this can be a good starting ground for your home-based business.
In the later stage, after your business has gained sufficient traction, you can set up a personal website to better interact with your customer base as well as address their queries.
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Formulate the Business Plan
The next step is formulating the business plan. A business plan is essentially an outline of operations that goes behind running the business. Depending on your business idea, the business plan will differ.
The business plan should include a detailed overview of the product or service you are offering, a detailed analysis of the market and competitors, identifying the advantages and disadvantages of your business model, a financing module for your business as well a customer retention strategy. These might feel a bit too much to get started, but they will ensure that you have a clear vision of your business and won’t run into issues down the line.
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Registering the Business
The next step is a legal requirement. I need to come up with a name that embodies your ideas as well as your business. You will also need to register your business with the local authorities to make sure that you do not run into any legal trouble. For a home-based business, the business entity should be a sole proprietorship. This Will provide you with considerable control and flexibility over your business processes and rebates when it comes to taxes.
Separate Personal and Business Finances
As a home-based business, the initial growth will take some time to take off. You will need to reinvest your profits as well as source additional financing for your business. That all depends on the nature of the business. But the right approach is to ensure that personal finance and business finance are separated.
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You can set up a separate account for your business and handle the finances on that account. Separating personal finances from business finance will help to better track business progress and financial gains. It will also help to better assess how much additional investment would be required to finance the business.
Engage Your Customer Base
Another prominent aspect that should be taken into consideration is engaging the customer base. Naturally, as a home-based business, the reach and the brand image would be minimal while starting. To counter this, widespread promotional activities including discounts should be undertaken. Customers should be encouraged to share their thoughts on their social media. That way it would be possible to spread the business brand through word of mouth. In the end, it's all about maintaining quality as well as customer satisfaction.
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Review the Business Strategy
The thing about the market is that it is constantly changing. What might be in demand today might not be in demand tomorrow. As a home-based growing business, you need to understand the changing dynamics and adapt your business to face the change.
The right thing to do in this aspect is to review the business strategy to make sure the product or the service stays relevant to the customer. If you run a B2C business strategy, try and understand what your customer shows interest in. Change your product line up to better address the customer needs.
As a home-based business owner, you need to stay up-to-date with the changing trends. Introducing innovative products at a competitive price will surely give you an upper hand among the startups.
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The current landscape of the digital market in Bangladesh is expanding rapidly. More and more people are getting into online business and trying to make a profit out of it. The pandemic even forced some reputed businesses to implement online business strategies. Thanks to the widespread use of social media, showcasing your product and growing your business is now easier than ever. With that said, we tried to outline the key aspects that make or break a starting home-based business. With proper planning and conviction, it is easily possible to grow your business to a large scale and initiate substantial profit from it.