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It’s easy to set up an online business. I’m speaking about in comparison to an offline business of course. Usually all that’s needed is your credit card for some kind of payment and off you go.

It’s just as easy for that online business to fail. One reason for this is that people don’t treat it like a business.

To set up an online business to be successful right from the start requires you to treat it like a business from the word GO.

I’m not talking about how to set up a specific kind of business, like blogging or affiliate marketing, rather the practical and generic things you must put in place no matter what kind of online business you pursue.

Here are 7 practical tips related to setting up your online business to increase your chances of success:



1. Be aware of legal requirements


Depending on where you live, there are legal requirements to operate any business. This usually has to do with tax.

However, tax only becomes a factor if you’re making money and many online businesses don’t generate a cent.

Is there any sense in registering your operation as a legal entity right at the start?

Probably not, and I wouldn’t recommend you do it for a good 6 -12 months unless you have a very good reason. 

However, even at this early point you should still know and understand what’s required in your country of operation since tax offices do not accept the excuse of “I didn’t know.”

If you want to be an entrepreneur you have to take responsibility for everything you do and don’t do, and it’s best to start from day one.



2. Write a Business Plan


It’s astounding how so few new online business owners write a business plan.

Many think this is only required by offline businesses looking to raise funds via bank loans or an investor.


A business plan is as the name suggests, a plan, like a map, about what you’re doing and how you intend to get there.

Putting your ideas in writing will help you to think through what you’re doing and how you’re going to do it.

You can find templates online, however most of these are for bricks and mortar type businesses and unsuitable. 

Existing templates usually require you to make complex financial projections. This is to satisfy lenders of capital, that what’s planned has legs to make money.

Your business plan does not have to be long or complicated and you can tailor it to suit your needs. The plan is for you, nobody else.

A brief document explaining what the business is about, what you hope to achieve, how you intend to do it and by when is all that’s needed.



online business set up



3. Track Expenses and Income


Despite what many websites would have you believe, if you’re getting involved in a solid, long-term business project, you will not be making millions overnight.

You may be wondering why it’s necessary to track expenses and income so soon.
As a business owner you must get used to keeping records so that you can refer to these down the line.

Also, if and when you do register your business as a legal entity, it’s likely you’ll have to deal with accountants and tax agents who will want to see these records from the start.

Once again, you do not need expensive and powerful software to track this. A simple spreadsheet showing income and expenses is all that’s required.

Search online you will find a variety of templates. Choose one that makes sense to you and start keeping records from the start.



4. Open a Business Bank Account


Many who start an online business pay for their expenses using personal credit cards.

While it’s fine to do this, in my experience, using one banking account for personal and business is confusing and not a good idea.

Ideally you don’t want to be racking up debt on your credit card anyway, but if you’re going to use one, it would be good if the card was for business expenses only.

My recommendation is to set up a separate debit card which you use exclusively for business. It’s much easier to track expenses and income focusing on one bank account.



5. Organize Your Admin


It’s important to keep documents and records together for your business. Keep these organized systematically in folders, on your computer.

Have a main folder called Business, then create folders within the main folder as required.

Some folders I use for instance are Financials, Planning, Websites, Products and Services, Affiliate Info

You must learn how to become time efficient since this will assist you to achieve more in the time that you have.

Being organized from the start when it comes to admin will help you to know where to put things and how to find them when you need them later on.



learn how to set up an online business



6. Use Tools to Manage Your Time


Your most precious commodity as business owner, is time. It will never feel as if you have enough to do everything you want to do.

24 hours is the same for all of us, but what you do with yours and how you manage it, is what will make the difference.

Be clear about how much time you have for business activities every day, especially if you’re not doing this full-time yet. Make a commitment to a certain number of hours and keep to those hours.

I suggest blocking out time on a daily basis on a computer calendar. The Google calendar is a perfect free tool you can use to schedule and track your time.

Prioritize what’s most important to be done, not what you like doing, and then schedule your tasks according to your available time.

I schedule my time in blocks of one hour, writing down what I intend doing. I use a simple online timer which I set for 50 min.

In the last 10 min of the hour I go back to the calendar and update what I accomplished. Any time left you can use for a quick breather before repeating the process again.

Keeping an hour by hour account of what you’re doing will help you to see what you’re doing with your time and where you need to make changes.



How to Set up an Online Business



7. Keep a Journal


In the context of business, a journal is just a fancy name for a notebook.

This can be a hard copy or a digital version. Record details in your journal every day.

The kinds of things you want to make a note of could include:

  • Anything related to your business you want to refer to later.
  • Ideas you have
  • Learning notes when you do training.
  • Even personal notes about how you feel about your business on certain days.



how to set up an online business tips


The practical tips I’ve shared with you above can assist you to think and behave like a business from the start.

Besides the obvious benefits that come from putting these things into place, just doing these will result in a profound psychological advantage for yourself.

You will feel you’re doing everything possible to take what you’re doing seriously.

What is one thing from this post  you can implement such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary? Why would you not do it? 


Got Questions? Something to say? Leave a comment. Let’s chat

My #1 recommendation

If you want to start a blogging business to change the direction of your current income.


  1. mercy

    This is so encouraging, I have just started an online business and before I read your post on how to set up an online business to be successful, I didn’t care so much since my business is online but you have given me a good insight that I had not given a thought, opening a different account and keeping a journal.Thank you so much for this information. I will start behaving professional lol…

    • Mark Baker

      Hello Mercy

      Like you, previously I did not do the few things I speak about in this post and it I never felt as if I was a genuine business person, just someone attempting to be successful.

      The moment I started doing some do the things that all business people should do, my whole attitude changed towards what I was doing. It’s as if just be doing these things I became more serious about it.

      I’m pleased to hear you found my ideas useful. Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.



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