3 Tips on Starting a Small Business- Using the Internet to Help You Grow Faster

Any entrepreneur who has used the Internet to facilitate a start-up and to grow a small business will attest to the range of good and bad advice available online. Finding an “expert” is just a search engine click away. Their offerings purport to guide their readers through everything from selecting an online merchant account to deciding what domain name to buy. But what are the best ways to use online resources to help a business endeavor grow faster?


The most successful businesses identify their market, determine staffing needs, and address infrastructure requirements before ever approaching a client. In all of these areas, the Internet offers low cost, easily accessible solutions.

Small Business growth

Targeted Market Research


Regardless of the location of the business, “real world” or virtual, targeting a market is about finding a niche filled by potential customers with a pressing need. Fill that need, and a business is born. The Internet is an invaluable resource for market analysis, which can be as simple as looking at the inventory offered by the competition.


Amazon, for instance, offers a selection of “customers who bought this also bought these” products on every item listing. Perusing those selections and reading customer reviews can give a prospective business owner a sense of how a product genre is “moving” with buyers. Armed with this type of information, it’s a simple matter to use the free Google keyword tool to dig deeper. Although long associated with Internet marketing, this is a fast, efficient way to find out how many people are searching for a particular word or phrase online.


A Source of Temporary Labor


Staffing is a problem for most start-ups. Simply making ends meet is often a critical issue, so hiring help is likely out of the question. Sites like ODesk, eLance, iFreelance, and Fivver give small business owners ready access to “temp” employees from all over the world. It is necessary to “shop” through proposals and choose wisely, but recent studies have shown that the use of freelance employees is rising steadily, with more than 54 percent of all businesses relying on these independent contractors to some degree.


Pare Down Infrastructure Needs


Thanks to modern smartphone technology, many small business owners can literally run their businesses out of their pocket or bag. Applications exist that replicate all the processes once completed by office “machines.” This runs the gamut from scanning documents and sending faxes to accepting credit card payments and collecting client signatures. If a new business does not have to have a physical location, and can be run from the owner’s home using a mix of online and mobile tools, an enormous expense has already been eliminated.


The Internet was once conceived as a place to “get rich quick.” Pundits promised fabulous results to anyone who built a site and offered a product or service. In theory, it was just a matter of watching the customers line up. When this didn’t happen, a kind of “bubble” burst, generating a cynical backlash among some small business owners about the role of the web in their endeavors.


There’s no arguing the fact that, “if you build it, [they] will come,” only works in the movies. This does not, however, negate the real potential of the Internet as an aid in small business creation. The net can provide effective, affordable tools for conducting research and allocating resources to small business owners, which they in turn can leverage to beat the competition.


About the Author

Rana K. Williamson, PhD, is a former college professor now working as a freelance writer and researcher. Williamson, 49, covers a wide range of topics for MerchantSeek.com with a particular interest in technology, the Internet, and the emerging business systems of the 21st century .


  1. Joemel says

    Internet has a great advantage of new business because this will help your business promote products online and get clients online and besides there is also a possibility that you online presence increase.

  2. says

    One aspect of the internet that gives online startups tremendous advantage is the fact that online, you are as big as the programmer designing your website.

    A garage startup with smart programmers can come up with a site that holds the torch for fortune 500s. (You just need to have the sawgger to waltz through it… :) )

    People look at your website and whatever you tell them you are is where they place you.

    Offline, you may not have the financing to rent the pent-floor office space, but online you can!
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  3. Bryan says

    Hi Rana
    thanks for sharing some excellent start up tips .
    market research is perhaps the most important .. you can find cheap labor in website like fivers and freelancer, but as you said it is important to chose wisely otherwise you will end up hiring some else, which will cost more
    thanks for sharing
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  4. Christine Brady says

    Hi Rana,

    These are excellent start up tips!

    Researching your target market is such an important first step in the start up process. From the market’s needs to scoping out your competition to what the market is doing, this is one step worth the time and effort.

    Thanks for sharing these essential steps!

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  5. Bhushan says

    Hi Rana,

    Thanks for sharing this tend to be known information.

    This determine you make a outstanding knowledge. Again you proved yourself with a good article. It sounds quite interesting what you wrote about feeds.

    I appreciate your post.Thank you so much for this! I will surely read this and share this to my other friends.
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