Your guide to a successful online business!

This week the 2016 Business Show took place at the London Excel. 123 Reg had a stall there along with Nominet, but we also took the time to catch some of the hundreds of seminars that took place. From this we’ve distilled 10 great tips to help potential and new business owners realise their dreams.

Anyone can start a business

At one of the very first seminars of the event, Jay Hastings, who earns his living online, included a reassuring truth that every aspiring entrepreneur needs to hear now and then – the fact that anyone can start a business. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what your background is, running a business is within your grasp. It’s just a case of finding the right motivation and inspiration.

45% of video views are via mobile

Becky Wilson from Google underlined the importance of mobile by revealing that almost half of video views online are now made with a mobile device. Now you may not be using video (we’ll come on to why you should be later on) but when Google goes out of its way to tell you that mobile is an important part of doing business online, then you should listen. You can learn more about the importance of mobile-friendly design here.

Becky shared this image of the crowd for her talk via Twitter

Becky shared this image of the crowd for her talk via Twitter

You can get loads of useful data for free

Do you want to research your chosen market but are put off by the potential cost of surveying people? Well, Fiona Shore and Jodie MacBeath from Purple Shoots Consultancy had a simple work around – use government data that is available to you at no cost. There’s a huge amount of information available at the Office for National Statistics website, so get digging. Of course, this data isn’t a perfect replacement for full market research, but it’s a huge help if you’re on a tight budget.

You’re probably missing out on easy to convert customers

Getting customers is hard, so why would you do anything that puts off a potential customer? But many businesses are doing exactly that, albeit without realising that’s what’s happening. Stephen Tucker from website personalisation service Bunting explained that giving the same experience to customers no matter what their relationship with your business is can be a real sales killer.

You can read more about website personalisation in this guide, and remember – the 123 Reg Website Builder comes with a huge range of personalisation options.

Ideas are easy running a business is hard

One of the reasons many people put off starting a business is because they haven’t had the right idea. In reality, Gildas Le Pallec of Neopost, pointed out that ideas are the easy bit. It’s all the work that comes after that’s truly difficult.

Remember – a business idea doesn’t have to be in any way unique. You don’t have to come up with a world-changing new product. In fact, many great businesses are built on taking an existing idea and simply doing things better. You can read more about the idea myth, and other myths about starting your own business in this guide.

As for the hard work, well, you’ll just have to get stuck in.

UK customers love .UK domains

Apprentice finalist, business mentor and fashion retailer Bianca Miller’s presentation include the fact that 74% of UK consumers prefer a website with an address ending .UK, a statistic from Nominet.

The message is that if you’re looking to sell to a UK customer base then a UK domain is the way to go. You can register a .UK domain here.

Don’t use Hotmail if you want to be taken seriously

Bianca also revealed it hard to take people seriously when they contact her via an email address that ends in “” or “”. These kinds of addresses are fine for personal correspondence, but if you want to be taken seriously in a professional capacity, then you need an email address based on your business domain name. You can sign up for email hosting with 123 Reg here.

Bianca Miller with the Nominet and 123 Reg crews.

Bianca Miller with the Nominet and 123 Reg crews.

The right mindset is crucial

We’ve already covered the fact that running a business is hard work, but in his talk Ian Dickson of Unlock Success explained that the right mindset can do wonders for you.

He suggested using the “just five more” technique to get things done. As the name suggests when you come to the end of a particular task, you do “just five more”, much in the same way a personal trainer at the gym will get someone to do “just five more” press ups or lifts at the end of a workout.

Ian said that if you get into the habit of doing five more sales calls, for example, you’ll find your business will really benefit in the long term.

Small businesses can and should do PR

Do you dream of seeing your business in the papers? Well you should focus on turning that dream into a reality. In their talk, Emily Jane Brown and Tet Kofi from Journolink advised small businesses to spend time working on PR.

They advised business owners to focus on publications that cover their niche, rather than hoping for coverage in major newspapers.

Companies using video increase year on year revenue faster than those that don’t

Online new is big and it’s getting bigger. And in his seminar, Bhavik Haria, of Cincera Productions, revealed that using video can help grow your business. On top of that, he revealed firms that add video into the mix also see a 157% increase in organic search engine traffic.

Now video can seem a bit intimidating to small businesses. But in reality you probably already have most of what you need to start creating high-quality videos – your average smartphone should record in HD so buy a simple tripod and you’re ready to start creating.

You can learn more about using video to promote your small business in this guide.

Still need help? Tweet us your small business questions @123reg and we’ll get back to you.

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