Is selling ebooks a business?
In order to address the question of whether or not a business plan is needed in order to sell ebooks online, we must first determine if ebook sales can be considered a business, an entrepreneurship or just something you do on the side to make a few extra bucks for your nights out with the boys/girls.
Another point we should touch on is the interchangeable uses of business and entrepreneurship. There is very little difference between the two terms based on the usage of each term. Since every entrepreneur is technically a small business person and entrepreneurship is simply the act of being an entrepreneur, then it follows that a small business can at any time be referred to as an entrepreneurship and vice versa.
How to define success
That having been said, it is an accepted principle that every small business is launched with the goal – or objective, if you like – of achieving certain levels of monetary success, notwithstanding the service it provides to the local community. Entrepreneurs want to succeed at their particular crafts and therefore should have a clear idea of what it takes to succeed. Most successful business owners will tell you however, that whatever that idea is, it must be in written form.
Success online depends on having a plan, or more specifically a business plan. Very often, aspiring Web entrepreneurs contact a designer with a burning passion to have a new website designed, built and launched. FAST! But success takes more than waking up bug-eyed in the wee hours of the morning with the brainstorm of the century. You need to outline and complete a real business plan and make adjustments before the official launch.
The think-it-through phase
Mentioned earlier was selling ebooks online and if it is to be a serious endeavor then it has to be considered an online eBook business, in which case the aspiring entrepreneur will have to provide enough information to satisfy the requirements of a business plan writer or to fill in the blanks of a pre-printed BP form. Thinking through the questions and answers is a vital step towards developing a good business plan. For example:
- Do you have a company?
- Do you have a logo for your company?
- If no logo, what color scheme do you like?
- How many products (eBooks) will you offer?
- Are they all written and ready to go?
- Do you have cover art for your books?
- What system of e-commerce do you intend to use?
- Will you offer just pdf or exe formats, or both?
- Do you have the domain, plus registration and hosting?
- Do you have a projected launch date scheduled?
- How many affiliate products do you have to offer?
Defining what you do, your market, and how you intend to be different are vital considerations for starting your online ebook business. You only get one chance to make a good first impression.
For an eBook online business, the competition is fierce and filled with some shady characters. When you begin the process of planning before jumping in, consider your image first and then answer “How will I establish credibility in the early going?”. Weave this into your business plan and you should do well. Don’t act before thinking or you may be perceived as just another online marketeer.
Your image comes first – It is recommended that you have a stunning set of graphics for your corporate image to make a favorable first impression. Hire a pro if it’s in your budget.
Credibility is a close second – Although it does take time to build a solid reputation in your marketplace, you can help yourself in this area by soliciting opinions from trusted people to give honest feedback about first impression and how credible they think you are.
And of course your Plan must guide your operating activities – If you can’t hire a financial/accounting pro to write your business plan, I’m sure there are Outlines or templates for creating a business plan available free online. Get one. Use it. Be flexible, and change as you go.
A final word
I know that many startup online entrepreneurs neglect creating a business plan. Selling eBooks online without physical inventory except bits and bytes seems so easy that you will be tempted to just dive in to a ebook sales opportunity with both feet and not give the plan a second thought. But keep this thought in mind: Your chances for success will improve tremendously with a real business plan.