Got a great business idea? Getting your online business set up from home isn’t difficult but it can definitely be a daunting process. In this article, we’ll go through all the steps you need to follow in Australia. Whether you’re hoping to start an eCommerce business or you’re looking to sell a service online, having the right foundation for your online business is crucial.
1. Register and secure your business name
Even if you’re just operating online, it’s important to register and secure your business name. Before you decide on one, make sure to do a quick search on the ASIC database to make sure there isn’t an existing business with the same name. You’ll want to check that website domain/s and social media handle/s are available as well.
When you’re ready, you’ll need to decide whether you want to register your business name or register for a company. You can learn more about business registration on ASIC. As a part of this process, you’ll need to include an address. However, if you don’t want to include your home address, you can apply for a virtual address.
2. Set up your website
Setting up your website does involve considering a fair amount of factors. However, there are now a range of tools that make it easier for you. There are different options depending on your business type such as Shopify for e-commerce businesses, self-hosted WordPress for other online businesses, and Squarespace for brick and mortar businesses.
Part of setting up and maintaining your website will be looking into SEO. This ensures that your business comes up higher in Google search when people search for certain keywords. For example, a pet food delivery company might want to show up for “pet food sydney” or other relevant terms. Make sure to look into what SEO considerations to make when setting up a site.
3. Set up social media
In today’s day and age, having social media is crucial for most businesses. Though you might not need an entire social media strategy from the start, you’ll want to have social media pages set up with a business description, opening hours, contact information etc. Other than your website, people often look to social media for key business details.
4. Build systems to acquire and retain customers
Following on from the last tip, social media has become an important tool to acquire and retain customers. This could be from people landing on your pages organically, or through coming across paid social media ads that you set up. It’s worthwhile to look at successful competitors in your industry to see how they’re driving engagement and conversions through social media.
Other than social media, you can look into search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimisation (SEO), and email marketing as methods to find customers. In particular, SEM and SEO are ideal for those looking to acquire potential customers whereas email marketing is a great way to nurture potential and existing customers.
5. Make sure you’re being compliant
Though getting into legal trouble might seem unlikely as you’re just starting out, there are still a few considerations you’ll need to take. For example, there are certain pages that you’ll want to have on your website to ensure you’re meeting Australian laws and regulations. These protect both you and the consumer:
- Website disclaimer explaining your liability as a website owner
- Terms and conditions with rights and responsibilities of the customer and the website
Can you grow your online business from home?
After you’ve set up your business, the next phase is growing. Depending on your type of business, you can go a long way just by working at home. For example, if you’re starting a freelance business and looking to work alone, you might never need to work anywhere else. Similarly, those selling virtual products such as e-books or guides won’t need a physical space.
However, many businesses will reach a stage where you’ll need a larger space. If you need to work with a physical team, it’s worthwhile to look into joining a coworking space. If you sell products online, you might eventually need to look at eCommerce solutions for growing businesses that provide storage space and shipping stations.