By Guest Blogger, Omar Regalado

When it comes to business, and now online tactics, everyone seems to have something to say. And the thing is, A LOT of what they will tell you is valuable. With so many tools, apps and resources, it sure seems like there has never been a better time to start and grow a business.

And yet, it’s SO easy to end up overwhelmed, enter paralysis of analysis and not really know where to start or what to do to grow your business leveraging from the internet.

So, What to do?

After having different business experiences and many years of studying, testing and implementing different strategies, I’ve found that the number one cause of so many business failing or not really getting anywhere, is the lack of a solid strategy.

In simpler terms, you need to get the big picture.

Once you really do, you then can automatically know what’s the next step that you need to take, and then the next, and then the next.

But without your own sequence of steps, it’s very easy to lose perspective and get stuck.

This has to be YOUR very own big picture, a strategy of your own making, so you can really understand what you’re doing and make sense of the different items that need to be done.

So, this will be different for every business, but there is a common theme and structure that you can follow when creating your very on strategy.

Keep in mind that these 7 steps are useful whether you have an established business or are just exploring about a startup, as in either case they can provide a very rich process on which you can set a strong foundation, both for launch or growth. Here they go:

1. Research. This is the mandatory first step, and skipping it is, without a doubt the number one cause of business failure. When you do proper and complete research, you get to know your customers, know their needs and accurately identify the ways on which you can add value to them and to the market. And last but not least, it is thanks to research that you can learn the language of your audience from which you will craft effective messages to reach to them. Online Steps: join forums on your market and niche, Social Media, Reddit, Amazon, Google, Quora, competitor´s sites, etc.

2. Build Your Network. Once you have some grounding and a better understanding of your market and how you are going to better serve it, then you start warming up the engine. You may or may not yet have full
clarity on the products or services you will be offering, as during these initial phases you are basically validating your overall plan, based from real interactions. These include other experts, potential users and even competitors. The idea is to start building a solid network, getting the word out there about you and how you can help. Online Steps: email relevant people, connect through social media and build a solid profile on LinkedIn.

3. Validation. By putting your research together with live interactions with your market, you then start getting a sense of the direction that you should be taking. You start to get a sense of the niche that you should focus on. And based on these explorations you can now start creating some feedback from potential customers. You can start thinking of setting up a website. And you can also find some candidates for beta testing your product or service and start building your portfolio, email list of subscribers or customer base. Online Steps: Build your website or basic landing page, create content to post as contributor, get an Email Service Provider (ESP) to start growing your email list.

4. Product Creation. Once you have had positive feedback and validation from your research, your network and your potential customers, you then (and only then) can start thinking about product creation. The critical factor at this stage is to keep your focus on VALUE. Your product or service should be focused on your customer. It’s not about you, your brand or your business. It’s about adding value, and creating a product simply means building a standard format on solving a problem or filling a need, based on what they want. Strive for ways to add value to your products well beyond the customer´s expectations derived from the price tag. Online Steps: start finding strategic allies for future promotion, build anticipation with email subscribers and social media followers, setting up a shopping cart solution for sales.

5. Marketing and Promotion. Once you have a proven way of adding value to the market, you can enter into the one phase the will provide the most leverage. Once you have a solid product, then all your attention should shift towards marketing. Marketing it’s about crafting an effective message that will help you get sales. Marketing is “salesmanship in action”. You will need all the golden nuggets from your research in order to create your message and then place it strategically in front of your targeted audience. Online Steps: This will vary depending on your context and budget, but these are some of the most effective: become a contributor on high traffic sites with a link to a landing page, do a product launch with your email list, Pay Per Click Advertising, Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This list could be endless, but with these basic options you can build a strong online marketing strategy and create a solid business.

6. Up-selling. You should at all times keep optimizing your marketing regularly and finding new spaces and places on where to promote your products or services. But once you have gotten a strong baseline, you can then go back to your research findings and think of ways to add even more value to your customers. This could take the form of “done-for-you” solutions, or one on one coaching. If you have been keeping your customers happy, you then owe it to them and to your business to provide even better solutions, at higher fees or prices. Online Steps: Build anticipation and designing an internal launch among your existing customers.

7. Expanding. If all of the above stages had gone well, you now are in a position to evaluate the direction of your business. You can enter into new niches. You can attract or be part of Joint Ventures. Depending on your size you can even consider selling. It’s really up to you, but the point I’d like to make here is that you should not leave this phase up to chance. You can even have a clear vision of how you can expand before even starting your business, so it’s healthy to have this element built into your business picture. Online Steps: study other business models, become an active member and promoter of big names in your industry, explore doing joint ventures.

If you build the above sequence into your Online Strategy, you will be avoiding most of the common pitfalls that business owners face, especially when entering the overwhelming and crowded online world.

By having a sequenced strategy of your own, it’s simply a matter of following through, instead of learning the latest tactic or getting the newest course.

I hope this post can help you build your own online strategy while building the business you’ve always have dreamed of!

About Omar

Omar Regalado has been an entrepreneur over the last 8 years. He has been involved in business online and offline, and while at it, has learned a wide range of business skills and mindsets for success. He recently created his own business advice site, that you can find at

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