One of the most challenging aspects of getting a virtual business up and running is the pre-launch phase, something that includes lots of research and planning. It can seem like there's a whole lot to do, but these ten tips will help get you up and running quickly: Tip 1: Choose the type of service or product you want to offer. Tip 2: Certify that you have adequate knowledge, skills, ability, and industry experience. Tip 3: Lock down your business niche (your market) and specialize in two or three core service or product offerings. Tip 4: Evaluate how much time and energy you have to commit to getting your virtual business launched. Be honest! Tip 5: Identify who your clients are and how you will reach them.
Tip 6: Ask yourself the hard question: Is there a need for my service(s) or product(s)? Use the following to make a true assessment: A customer or a prospective customer has to have three things: need or want, money and authority; all three must be present or else you're just wasting your time.
- Need: Is your product or service a good solution for something people need or want and recognize as something that deserves their attention?
- Money: Do they have the budget under their control or the resources to spend on your service or product?
- Authority: Do they have the organizational power to make the decision to buy your service or product. This is separate from having the budget.
Tip 7: Give serious thought and consideration to your budgetary constraints, projected expenses, expected income and how long you can go until your business is generating income on its own; work on developing your online presence; purchase your domain name or names. Tip 8: Develop a business plan, action plan or plan of action and review it often to manage company growth. Tip 9: Get all legal and financial matters in order prior to securing your first contract or client; examine your equipment, software and working area for maximum productivity. Tip 10: Market your services or products at every opportunity; work on establishing yourself as an industry expert; and start your marketing efforts locally. After launching your virtual business, consider joining one to two professional organizations, they can be local and/or virtual, doing so will give you the opportunity to network, build camaraderie, self confidence, and a personal support network. With a simple, step-by-step approach and a little planning, you should be in business?and getting business?before you know it. About the writer: Victoria Parham is a military spouse and the president and chief technology officer for VSSCyberOffice.com, a forerunner in the virtual support services industry, and an advocate of portable careers for trailing spouses and family members. Its web-based Virtual Business Owners Training Program, the first virtual careers program for Department of Defense and Military ID cardholders, is available online.