Market-savvy entrepreneurs are learning to turn to the Internet when making the decision to start their own business. A number of business ideas lend themselves to being run virtually, making the prospect of starting a company more attractive to someone who doesn't have the resources or finances to open a business in a brick and mortar location. In addition to the financial savings, you will easily open the door to clients who can come from any part of the country or even the world.
Create a business plan and obtain funding. Like any traditional business you will need to create a business plan that outlines your company goals, structure and financial forecast. Use the result of the plan to determine how much funding you will need and present it when applying for loans from your local bank or lending agency.
Learn what the local, state and federal requirements are. Depending on what type of virtual company you are planning, you will need to check for required licenses and taxes. You can find the web address to your local state agencies by clicking on your state at the Business.gov website or conducting an online search.
Update your Internet service. As a virtual business owner time is money and you will require your Internet service to be quick and efficient. If your current service provider does not offer high speed services such as Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) or cable, switch to a company that does. If you are already using either DSL or cable, switch to a business account that will offer you more business oriented services such as even faster download times or higher bandwidth limits.
Assess your telephone system and telephone service. Regardless of whether you are using a land-line or a cell phone, dedicate a phone that is strictly for business use. Because you are not working in a traditional office space with a meeting room, your business conversations will primarily be conducted over the phone. Sign up for additional service options such as call waiting or call conferencing.
Invest in a quality computer or laptop. If your computer is several years old consider replacing or upgrading it. Although computers are constantly improving, you will want a computer that can reliably keep up with the demands of running a virtual company.
Find a reliable and secure web host provider. Research the different companies and select the one that offers you the most benefits, such as storage space, number of email addresses, and additional domain names. Select a provider that has a good reputation for customer service and maintenance.
Build a company website. Your website is the equivalent of front door to your virtual business. Research companies that specialize in website design and look over any sample sites that are given. If you prefer to create your own website there are numerous online sources that offer web building software for free or for an affordable price.
Use online file sharing. Sign up with an Internet-based file sharing company that will allow you and your employees to file, store and access company documents when it is needed, no matter your location. Research companies to ensure the reliability and safety of your important documents.
Promote your company. How you promote your business will depend a great deal on what type of virtual business you are running. Take advantage of social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook. Get the word out about your company by including your website and email address in all correspondence. Send letters of introduction to your target market and explain who you are and what your company has to offer.
Use email and online chat for real-time company communication.
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