The United Kingdom (UK) has a vast digital economy that contributes over £140 billion annually to the country’s economic output (according to government estimates). The UK has favorable policies that help online businesses thrive. It’s one of the best places globally to set up an online business; this article will explain how to do that.
Every successful business starts with an idea. You must figure out what product or service you want to offer via the Internet. The good news is that there are abundant opportunities for creating web-based businesses.
After choosing an idea, you must perform market research to see if there’s a viable market for it. There’s no use selling products or services that people aren’t interested in; it increases your failure risks.
You must also analyze your existing competitors in the chosen market. What are their strengths and weaknesses? How would you differentiate your business from rivals?
After getting a feasible idea, you must choose a suitable business model to make money from it. Online companies have three main business models: e-commerce, subscriptions, and advertising.
This model implies selling physical or digital products directly to customers. People can visit your online store, choose their desired product, and pay for it with a credit or debit card. The money will be remitted to your business account, and you’ll recognize it as revenue.
You can create a dedicated online store for your company or sell through third-party marketplaces like Etsy and Amazon. Many businesses start by selling on third-party marketplaces to get good brand recognition before switching to dedicated websites.
This model implies charging your customers a recurring fee to access your products. It’s a stable model to generate long-term revenue. For example, if you’re a fitness instructor, you can create a library of workout classes and charge a monthly or annual fee to access it. Customers can view your workout classes as long as their subscription lasts.
Subscription is a growing trend for online businesses because of the guarantee of long-term revenue and the ease of forecasting future sales.
You can offer your online service for free and charge brands to advertise to your audience. For example, as the hypothetical fitness instructor, you can offer your workout classes for free and charge gyms and fitness product retailers to advertise to your audience.
You must choose a unique name that another business hasn’t already taken. The name shouldn’t be similar to established brands and trademarks, or you risk losing it after a legal complaint.
After choosing a name, you should create a formal business plan. This plan highlights the essential parts of your company, including revenue model, competitive advantages, target market, sales forecasts, etc. It should be something that anyone can read and immediately understand what your company is about.
With the plan in place, it’s time to create the storefront for your business. You can create a dedicated website or sign up on an existing marketplace. The latter makes it easier to find customers because the established marketplaces already generate significant traffic. In contrast, drawing traffic to your own website takes a lot of work.
However, choosing a third-party marketplace makes your company dependent on the whims of another company. Your business could suffer if you get banned or restricted from the marketplace for any reason.
You should register your company with the UK Companies House. Registration earns more trust for your company, as customers are sure of dealing with a legal entity they can trace in case of disputes. People are more willing to patronize businesses with formal registration.
At this point, everything has been set in place, and you can start selling your products. However, you need to spread the word about your brand to get customers. You can advertise on social media sites, search engines, or relevant third-party websites. You can also encourage people to refer their friends in exchange for discounts and perks.
We have provided a detailed answer to “How to start an online business in the UK.” Following our guide means starting an online business will be as seamless as possible.