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This article is an extract from LegalVision’s Online Business Manual. Download the full Manual here.

Starting an Online Business

Starting an online business with no previous experience can feel like you are a character in a video game. In the beginning, you have few skills but as you move through the different levels, from ideation, and tackle new challenges, you power-up and gain new skills and experience.

Level 1 — Ideation

Staring up at thousands of wine bottles on a bottle shop’s shelves, or being offered discounts online for bottles we knew nothing about wasn’t a great experience for us. We started The Wine Gallery because we felt that wine retailers were not catering for a large section of the market – wine drinkers that wanted to learn about and discover great bottles of wine in a non-pretentious way. At the very least, we wanted to build a business that we would be customers of.

Level 2 — Building a presence online

We understood that our potential customers were learning about wine through friends and social media, so we invested considerable time building a community on Instagram. In twelve months, we grew from 500 to 30,000 followers and became one of the largest Aussie wine companies on the platform. We realised that there was no silver bullet for building an audience online. It took research, time and effort to uncover what our audience found engaging. Humour worked, but we couldn’t roll out the same, tired wine jokes. We have even seen international brands with millions of followers using our posts on their accounts months later!

Level 3 — Focus on the MV(D) or ‘minimum viable design’

We hacked our site together on Shopify with no tech or design knowledge. After gaining traction with the first iteration of our store, we decided to invest time and some cash on improving the design and messaging. We had listened to and learned from our early customers, and knew what we needed to build to reach the next level of engagement. It wasn’t until we launched our new site that we saw real growth.

We had read that founders often focus on building a minimum viable product, and can neglect the design. If you want to sell something online, it’s worth investing in quality photography, copywriting and web design. Don’t underestimate the importance of looking the part.

This article is an extract from the ‘Setting Up Your Online Business’ chapter in LegalVision’s Online Business Manual. Read the full chapter here.
If you have any questions about starting and growing your business online, or your legal obligations when marketing on social media, you can contact LegalVision’s online business lawyers by calling 1300 544 755 or filling out the form on this page.
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