Whilst many people want to set up an online business, they are often held back for being unsure about how it works, they may have a lack of support professionally and personally, or a fear that they won’t be successful online. However, there are many advantages to running an online business, including reduced overhead costs, greater flexibility, easier time management and the potential to reach a much wider audience, even going global. 
Setting up an online business can be exciting and often very rewarding. Indeed, there are currently over 120,000 e-commerce companies in the UK, and 28% of retail sales are online. There’s never been a better time to take that big step and start an online business. But how does an online business work? What support is available? How am I going to make my business successful online? All valid questions, so we’ve put together our tips for building online success. 

What is an online business, and how does it work?  

Most people associate an online business with an ecommerce company, i.e. their products are only sold online, and there is no bricks-and-mortar store. However, a physical store can also have an online sales division. Any business that sells its products/services online can be considered an online business. 
When you’re thinking of setting up an online business, there are several factors to consider in the process: 

Identify your market 

Possibly the most challenging part of starting an online business is knowing the products/services you want to sell and identifying your target market. It’s always better to go with a product/service you know about and hopefully have experience with to give you the best opportunity of being successful. 

Do your market research 

An important step is ensuring you’ve been thorough in your market research. For example, who are your main competitors? Who is your target audience, and what are they looking for from your product/service? What is the average pricing in the marketplace? Compare your products/services to your competitors and determine where and how yours differ. Look at how your competitors market their products/services. Consider their branding and get insights into product/service features. 

Decide on your business model 

Will you run your business as an ecommerce company or combine online with a physical store? Are you going to hold stock and do your own shipping or use a drop shipping company? What about affiliate marketing? Make sure you know your business model and structure before you start. 

Choose your payment options 

There are so many different ways to pay for goods and services online these days, so decide which options you want to provide for your customers, such as PayPal or Stripe, credit and debit cards, or even offering payment plans. Consider the fees you will have to pay for each option, too. 


This is a key area for online success. Your business name must be memorable, and your branding, i.e. your logo and colour palette must be easily recognisable. Your website design is a key element, as it needs to look professional. It must be easy to use with as few steps to checkout as possible, have an aesthetically pleasing design that displays your products/services clearly, be accessible for all, and, of course, be mobile-friendly. Mobile devices now account for as much as 87.2% of online (ecommerce) sales, so if your website isn’t set up for mobiles and smartphones, you will miss out on sales. 


Develop your marketing strategy from the outset; it’s a forever revolving element of your online business success, so keep it flexible. Think about how you will promote your business, i.e. social media, email marketing or other digital marketing initiatives. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is crucial to ensure your website is fully optimised and aligned with your other online activity, including content.  
If you’re targeting your local area, focus on local SEO tactics.  

What support is available for small businesses? 

There is a wide choice of support for start-ups and small businesses, from business funding and grants to tax and business rates, marketing and branding advice. 
There are also a wide variety of networking groups ideal for those starting in business who want to build their network. Many business people who are members of a networking group are more than happy and able to offer incredibly valuable advice and tips. For example, Network My Club has a series of networking lunches that take place at Twickenham Stadium; The Athena Network runs regular events, and BNI meets every week. 

Tips for building online success 

Building online success is as much about time and effort as it is about knowing the right tactics. Whether your goal is to turn a hobby into a full-time income, diversify an established 
company with online sales or start a completely new company, here are some essential tips to help you succeed: 
Know your audience – knowing and understanding your target audience is key to online success. You can do this by engaging with your customers, finding out their interests, what they’re looking for from your products/services, and customer care; you can then tailor your offerings, content and services to meet their needs. 
Build your brand – your brand gets you noticed, so work on building a strong brand in your marketplace. Make sure your brand’s tone of voice is unique to you but clear at the same time. It’s important that your logo and website are professional, too, and that your brand is consistent across all your online and offline platforms. For example, the branding on your social media is the same as your emails, blogs, online directories, and any marketing material. 
Create high-quality content – all content, be it blogs or website content, videos or images, must engage and resonate with your audience. It needs to be high quality, informative, well-researched and accurate, useful, relevant to your products/services and solve your audience’s needs. In addition, good content will help search engines rank your business. 
Be patient – building a successful online business takes time; as long as you put in the effort and focus on delivering great products/services, excellent customer service and high-quality content consistently and on brand, success will come. 
Yes, starting and building an online business means time, lots of hard work and, of course, monetary funds. However, with the correct planning in place and a plan of action that is feasible and workable, there’s no reason why you can’t build a successful online business. 
At It’seeze Twickenham, we specialise in delivering professional websites designed with your target market in mind. Our affordable website packages, including ecommerce options and ongoing expert support, are ideal for start-ups and small businesses in Twickenham, boosting your online success.  
Call us today to create a website that turns your business into an online success. 
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