Key things you should know about starting an online Christian business
You have prayed, done your research, and now you are ready to start a Christian online business.
Making a decision to start a business is a big deal, and my goal is to make sure you start off on the right foot. Laying the right foundation for your business can set you up for success and make your life easier down the road.
So, if you are looking for tips and ideas to help you launch an online Christian business, you have come to the right place. Now, let’s jump right in!
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1. STARTING A CHRISTIAN ONLINE BUSINESS BEGINS WITH THE RIGHT IDEA
No matter what kind of business you want to start, the first step is to come up with a good or profitable idea. It’s impossible to build a successful business if you don’t have a winning idea, so that’s the first place you need to start.
Whether your business is online or a physical business, the success or failure of your business depends on what kind of business you start.
Here are some questions for you to think about:
- Have you decided on a business idea?
- Can you run your business online or will you also need a physical presence?
- Have you validated your business idea? How much research have you done?
- Is there a need for your business?
- What problem will your business solve?
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into choosing a business idea, and it’s not something you should take lightly. Don’t rush into starting a business unless you have taken the time to identify a good business idea, and you are somewhat confident about it.
I say somewhat because no matter how much research you do, nothing is hundred percent guaranteed. You won’t know if your idea is a profitable one until you have actually launched your business.
So before you start your Christian online business, choose a business idea that’s likely to succeed, before you invest more time and money.
2. IDENTIFY THE PURPOSE OF YOUR BUSINESS OR THE PROBLEM YOUR BUSINESS WILL SOLVE
One of the reasons many businesses fail is because lots of business owners don’t know why their business exists. Don’t think because your business is online you don’t need to do market research or validate your idea. You can’t just start any kind of business you like.
If your goal is to earn an income from your business or to become successful, your business must solve a specific problem based on market research. For example, it’s not enough to say your business is for all Christians. You have to be more specific than that.
Your Christian online business must have a unique purpose and solve a specific problem for Christians. For example, an online Christian bookstore business has a specific purpose and target audience. The same thing also applies to a Christian online gift store.
As you can see, your business must solve a specific problem if you want to be taken seriously. So spend some time identifying the purpose of your online Christian business and the problems your business plan to solve for Christians.
Here are some examples of Christian online business ideas:
- Becoming a virtual assistant to Christian business owners
- Social media management
- Christian counseling business
- Online Christian bookstore business
- Online tutoring for Christian homeschoolers
There are lots of online business ideas for Christians, so you don’t have to limit yourself to the ones above. As long as the business idea is ethical and serves a need, you can go ahead and explore it.
3. AN ONLINE CHRISTIAN BUSINESS ALSO NEEDS A BUSINESS PLAN
The Bible has a lot to say about the importance of planning. You shouldn’t think of starting a business without taking the time to count the costs or know what it would involve.
Like all businesses, an online business also needs a business plan. Your business plan is your road map. It lays out all the things you have to do and when you need to do them.
Yes, you can start a business without a plan, but that only makes things harder because you will find yourself constantly trying to figure out what you should be doing at each stage.
Taking the time to create a business plan in advance will save you a lot of time and can help prevent some of those business startup mistakes many entrepreneurs make.
Your business plan doesn’t need to be too detailed or contain every single piece of information (especially if you are not planning to get a business loan). All you need are some key details like your vision and mission statements, the purpose of your business, how you will fund your business, what you are selling or offering, and so on.
Thankfully, I have a post that can help you create a simple business plan. I suggest you go ahead and check it out.
4. WHAT DO YOU NEED TO START YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS?
I can’t tell you how often I come across aspiring entrepreneurs who can’t tell you what they need to start their business.
So many aspiring business owners claim they haven’t started their business because they don’t have the money they need, but these folks can’t tell you how much they need to launch their business. They just assumed starting a business was out of reach.
So, my question is, what are your business essentials? Do you know what you need to start a Christian online business? Have you made a list and calculated the costs?
If you haven’t done that, I want you to get a piece of paper and make a list of everything you need to start an online business. You can forget about the bells and whistles for now. Focus on the essentials. Your business must-haves.
Below is a list of essentials for an online business:
- A personal website (with well-written copy) or an e-commerce platform for selling your products (like Etsy)
- Reliable internet connection
- Decent laptop
- Inventory (if you are a product-based business)
- Marketing and advertising budget
- Registration fees (for business name/business structure/domain registration)
- Social media accounts
- Business licenses and insurance (if applicable)
- Know the relevant online business laws and regulations (like GDPR and other privacy laws)
- Bookkeeping or accounting software or services
- Business plan or planner
- Business bank account
As you can see, there are lots of things that go into starting an online Christian business. The list above is some of the most important things you need to have or figure out before you launch your business.
If you haven’t made a list of your business essentials, go ahead and do just that, so you know what you are dealing with and what your startup costs are.
5. HOW WILL YOU FUND YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS?
Before starting a business, it’s very important to assess your finances, so you can determine how you are going to fund your business.
Do you have enough money to start an online Christian business? Of course, the answer to this question depends on how much you need to launch your business.
So, think about how you will fund your business before you start investing a lot of money. For example, some people cover the costs of starting a business with their savings, while others have to borrow money to cover their startup expenses.
Another possibility is to start your business on the side while working a full-time job. This way, you can pay your business expenses or startup costs from your income.
Also, when I talk about funding your business, I am referring to having enough money to run your business before it starts making a profit. Lots of businesses fail because they run out of money before they can turn a profit. That’s why you should consider, and have an estimate of how long it would take before your business becomes profitable.
Generally, businesses need anything from six months to two years to turn a profit. While this doesn’t apply to every single business, it’s still something to bear in mind while assessing your finances. So, make sure you have enough money set aside and in your budget before you launch your business.
Here are a few things to budget for:
- Operational costs (fees, production costs, business overhead)
- Marketing and advertising costs
- Purchasing inventory
- Paying for services like coaching, virtual assistant, or copywriting
Finally, know that there are lots of ways to fund a small business. Do some research and find one that is right for you.
6. DETERMINE WHAT PRODUCTS TO SELL OR SERVICES TO OFFER AND YOUR PRICE STRUCTURE
One of the easiest ways to lay a solid foundation for your business is to decide how your business will make money. Unless you are a non-profit, you should be in business to make money. Yes, that includes a Christian online business.
And, it all starts with the products or services you offer and how you price them.
So, the first thing you should do is make a list of your offerings. How will your business make money? What products or services will you offer? What is your signature offering?
For example, if you are a service-based online business, you can decide to offer only a few services, to begin with. The idea is to become an expert on one or two things and be the go-to person for that thing.
If you plan to sell products, you can follow the same model or sell lots of different products (like a bookstore or candy shop).
Whatever product or services you choose to offer, the key is to know how to price them for maximum profit. Of course, your pricing structure depends on your target customers.
Are you going after high-end or low-end customers? This is important because if your target audience is on the higher end, you only need to sell a few products or services to become profitable.
Conversely, if your target customers are on the lower end of the pricing ladder, you will need to sell a lot of goods or services to become profitable. Take this into account when you decide what to offer, and how to price your offerings.
If you are interested, you can find out more about the different pricing strategies from the articles below.
7. KEEP LEARNING AND GET THE SKILLS YOU NEED TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS
While starting a business is great and something to be celebrated, the real challenge lies in growing your business. One of the reasons why so many small businesses fail in the first five years is because they fall into a rut and can’t get out.
Running a business is hard work and requires a lot of different skills and a love of learning. You have to be willing to learn new things if you want your business to be successful.
As an online business, you will have to learn how to use different technology for your business. If you are tech challenged, make sure you have a plan to acquire the tech skills you need to run your business.
Small business owners who invest in learning are the ones who end up growing their businesses the way they’d like.
Find out the entrepreneurial skills you need, and determine what you need to learn or improve to run your online Christian business.
Have a learning budget and don’t be afraid to invest in your education as needed. Just make sure you only invest in the right tools or resources since there’s a whole lot of stuff out there.
Here are some of the most important skills you need to run a business:
- Tech skills
- Marketing and sales skills
- Customer service/management skills
- Decision-making skills
- Financial management skills
There are lots of skills you need to start and run a business, but if you have or can acquire the ones listed above, then you are off to a great start in your business.
Finally, read books about entrepreneurship, marketing, online business, and sales. Invest in yourself and your education so you can build a business you can be proud of.
Next steps for starting a Christian online business
Starting a Christian busines is a great undertaking and I want you to start off right.
I have given you lots of tips for starting a business and I hope you get some clarity and action steps from this post.
As a Christian, you can’t leave God out of your business, that’s why I want to encourage you to make God the center of your business. Apply biblical entrepreneurship principles in your business, and embrace Christian business values.
Because at the end of the day “what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?”
Good luck starting your business!