This is a question I get over and over again. And it is very open to interpretation. I like to try and eek out a little more detail.
I normally get a simple response. But that is all that’s really needed when someone is just exploring going online.
Its a GISMO business, started a year ago, only very small at the moment and hoping to grow through an online website
I have a facebook page called NewBusiness, it very basic and not finished yet, but I’m selling this to …
This is good, because now I understand where they are at. You do not necessarily need a web designer, or to spend any money. You have a lot of choices when you are trying test your idea out online.
If you are just starting out, then you do not know if your business is viable yet. That’s not a problem. I always recommend that people with an idea go out and test it (and keep testing) before they start paying for things like websites.
A website (or business cards, or paid for adverts) do not make a business. I think many new businesses believe that if they have things like this it gives them legitimacy. The best advice I can give, is to get customers first, then when you can’t handle the amount of customers you are getting, think about how to grow.
My suggestion for any new business is to test the idea without spending any money (or very little). You can do this several ways.
Use your FB page and create buy buttons with a Paypal account. FREE
Use Mailchimp to create Mini Sales pages with the same buy buttons. FREE
If you want to spend a little money and more time, purchase a web address and set up WordPress and Woocommerce. They are both free, and offer some decent designs (themes) for free too. You can then connect Paypal or Stripe (an online payment processor I highly recommend) to take orders. Can be done for under £100.
There is so much conflicting advice out there and a huge variation in costs for getting your new business up on the internet.
What about using Google, Facebook, Instagram? Do I need business cards? Ahhhhh, it’s overwhelming.
I’ve been building websites for over 10 years, and I started out just like you. I needed a site and I wasn’t completely convinced that spending 100s or even 1000s was the way to go.
Its hard to look back on now, but back then money was much easier to come by, it was before the banking crisis, and spending 3-4K on my idea seemed like a good bet. That business went no-where. It was only ever an idea, and I’d hope creating that website would turn it into a business.
A year later I had another idea….but this one I actually had paying customers for. After having my fingers a little burnt on that first site, I didn’t wanted to spend more money. So I learned how to build sites myself. I learned how to build online shops, and I learned what makes a business work.
Although technology has come a long way since then, and there are many, many more choices, the principles are the same.
Make sure you are not spending money before you know you are going to make money.
Currently I am working on gathering everything I’ve learned over the past 10-12 years so I can share it with you. If you have any questions you’d like answered, please leave them below. I answer every one.