What’s the No. 1 Thing a New Business Entering the Online Space Should Do? The WordPress Community Answers

Hey there WordPress wizards! Get ready to dive into the minds of some amazing folks in our community. We’ve got a special selection of pros ready to share their insights and inspire you – CEOs, product managers, marketers, and content creators from leading companies such as Elementor, Kinsta, Cloudflare, Post Status, Freemius, and WPZOOM. These industry veterans are here to share their no. 1 piece of advice for new businesses entering the online space.

Many of our guests agreed that getting involved in the community, creating a strong brand, building a trustful team, doing market research, and understanding the demand for your solution are some of the most important steps to get things started.

If you ask me, the most actionable tip is to just start and not wait for the right resources or the right time. The perfect moment or the perfect version of you will never arrive, so just put your idea out there and adjust along the way. A lot of us get stuck before even starting because we are afraid of failure. Therefore, if you have something in mind, what you can do right now is simply start. Then, take inspiration from this roundup.

So, without further ado, read this piece to get valuable advice from experienced people on what are the first steps to take when entering the online business space.

What’s the no. 1 thing a new business entering the online space should do?

New businesses in the WordPress ecosystem should find a way to embrace and involve the community within their product. The Open Source DNA for WordPress is about collaboration and sharing, finding a way to enable and work together.

Focus on building a strong brand, among a few other key elements like having a great product, being a customer-centric company, and working with other companies in the industry. But I think that building a strong brand from the ground up is the way to grow and overcome the competition. Users have strong preferences, and they prefer to buy from a trusted source; a name they recognize; a strong brand they can follow, engage with, and count on when needed.

Branding is a great way to differentiate yourself from everyone else. You can create your own brand and tone and truly stand out from the crowd. Why not start from day one?

Do your market research and make sure there’s actually an audience for the project/service you want to offer.

Get involved in the community. Go to a WordCamp! Better yet, volunteer at one or organize/sponsor one if you have the time and funds. It’s a fast track to insider status.

Connect with the community, create relationships, go to WordCamps/events. Meet people. Don’t SPAM. 🙂

Have a plan of what area of WordPress works for them. WordPress is growing rapidly to compete with page builder companies and I’m in the minority with this opinion, but there is no one way to build or sell and I think that’s wonderful. No matter what people say to you, find your lane and be my version of successful.

Get to know the communities around WordPress. The community is very diverse in terms of location, experience, background and business models and you can learn so much.

Market research. And I’d like to expand on that because it’s quite a broad term.

First off, you need to know your audience. If you don’t know who you’re serving, that’s a problem, and this relates to any business sector. For WP specifically, who influences your target audience? Who do they listen to and respect? Where do they hang out? Getting an understanding of the dynamics at play in the ecosystem is critical when you’re new to the space.

Next is to understand your numbers. During my time at Freemius, I’ve had conversations with developers whose aspirations for their businesses are bigger than what can be achieved. There needs to be a realistic convergence of numbers and dreams, you know?

What type of company do you want to create? How big do you aspire to be? Is the audience large enough and are they willing to pay the money you’d need to achieve/sustain your growth?

Based on those answers, you can determine whether it’s reasonable or unreasonable. But you have to be honest with yourself — you can’t aspire to build a $10M business if you plan to sell a plugin for $50 and there are only 5,000 potential customers for it. And look, I’m totally okay with getting involved with smaller businesses, but the math has to work.

Focus on the demand side. If there is demand for your products/services, everything else can be taken care of.

Things will change and evolve over time, so be ready to lean into that.

There are many things, so I cannot say what the no.1 thing is. Also, I’m not an entrepreneur, so I’m not the right person to answer this.

But since you asked, my only suggestion is ‘just start.’ Don’t wait for the right time and right resources. If you’ve got a unique idea that you believe will help a group of people with an existing problem, then you should try it. I think trying, learning, and trying again are the obvious steps in building a business.

Many ideas go wasted because people are afraid to try. Without trying, you wouldn’t even know whether your idea works. They say, “risk is better than regret.” So, put in your humble efforts and start it.

For example, in the WordPress industry, some people say that its market is at the point of saturation. And there are no opportunities for new businesses. But you’d be surprised to see many new companies popping up yearly, making billions in dollars. So, I can only say, ‘trust yourself and give it a try’ if you truly believe in your idea.

In business, we can’t be thinking months or even a year ahead. We need to be thinking 5-10 years ahead.

We need to understand the industry we’re getting into. What are the risks? What market factors are critical to success? Can we do something to offer maximum value to our users?

Understanding potential risks is critical to ensure that if something happens to a platform or company we rely on, we can pivot and survive.

For example, if I was launching an addon plugin or a template library for Elementor, I’d want to figure out how to pivot the business if Elementor rolled out a feature that replaced the functionality we offered. Or what if Elementor didn’t exist any more?

Yes, this is an extreme example. I couldn’t see Elementor going anywhere but thinking about these things is important. And it can get you thinking about other business opportunities that you otherwise wouldn’t have been open to. Some of those, you’ll be able to implement sooner rather than later.

In my opinion, the number one thing a new business entering the online space should do is to release a minimum viable product (MVP) as soon as possible. The sooner you release, the sooner you can start collecting feedback from early customers and making improvements to your product. Perfectionism can be addictive in the early stages of a new business, so it’s better to get something out there and iterate based on customer feedback. This approach allows you to make faster progress and stay ahead of your competition. By releasing your MVP sooner, you’ll be able to start learning about your market and your customers and use that information to make informed decisions about the future direction of your business.

Join PostStatus! I know I am biased on that one! But really it is to find your community. I don’t think it is on social media, maybe a local meetup group of local businesses, for example. Even if it isn’t PostStatus. Find the business space of like-minded people who you can lean on and ask questions.

We have to be willing to come into spaces and admit that we don’t have it all figured out (we don’t have it all figured out). I find that so many of the folx in the WP community offer experience and expertise when we are willing to ask and listen. For business owners, there isn’t anything more valuable.

To me, there is no universally applied rule on this. It depends on every business, momentum, leader. In my personal case, for instance, the most important thing is rather not the business idea itself, but the team. This is already a cliché, but trust me – the team is very important, perhaps the most important unit.

During the project process, sometimes I can’t describe my ideas clearly, but my team understands what I mean and implements it at times better than my own suggestion. Many times, I am backed up and completed by them.

All the modern managers praise their teams today, but I’m not sure how many of them really mean it. I guess that you consider this a solid statement, once you achieve some results alone or with it. The rest can be done by the team – the research, due diligence, development, biz dev, marketing, everything.

Even before publishing your first blog post, make sure you’ve got a compelling call to action to subscribe. This will make every reader of your blog more likely to sign up. This can make a huge difference in the long run.

Great email signup boxes have the three Ps:

Prominence. They stand out visually. That means a contrasting color, or it’s a pop-up, or it’s a sticky footer, or it’s big at the top of the blog, or it’s on every page in the footer, etc.

Promise. They tell the reader what they’ll get if they subscribe. That means indicating the topic (“tips for building stronger castles”) and the frequency (“weekly”).

Proof. They show that other people are getting value from these emails, either by indicating the number of subscribers or including a tiny testimonial. This kind of social proof leverages conformity bias and can increase conversion rates.

Get involved with the WordPress community and commit to the Five for the Future initiative to give back to WordPress what it gives to you as a business.

And it doesn’t have to mean doing anything with code – just being able to write documentation, translate a language or edit a video is all it takes to take part.

And, you can learn so much from that contribution aspect too.

Look for the hitches in the experience flow and ease them. Right now, there are many problems in the experience and all too often I see new businesses jumping into known markets competing with existing products. However, if you look at some of the experience problems not being solved – there are many – these, to me, make a lot of sense to focus on. You can focus on one, solve that and don’t have to adopt the ‘everything’ approach that has happened in the past, just solve one thing beautifully.

I’d say it should meet a real need. The WordPress community is now huge, and there’s a lot of businesses in the WordPress ecosystem filling a lot of opportunities, and there’s a lot of duplication as well which isn’t always required.

But there’s so many people using WordPress, so many unique use cases that there are still problems to be solved and people to be helped that don’t yet have a solution. If you can provide one of those solutions then that’s the perfect starting point for a WordPress business.

Read and learn as much as possible. About WordPress, hosting, security, SEO, and everything in between. Otherwise you’re gonna make mistakes, waste time, and lose money. Take some quality time to research whatever it is you want to do, before you go about doing it. It’s the information age, so take advantage of it.

Get involved in the WordPress community. In doing so, learn from others in forums, Slack channels, Twitter, and more. Pay attention to the direction that WordPress is heading. Go to meetups and WordCamps. This community has so much to offer one another, and that includes you.

Resources: WordPress Slack, “Make WordPress”, WordCamp Central, Meetup (search “WordPress”).

That sums up our community roundup on what a new business can do to get started online. With what strategy do you resonate the most? Is there any advice that you would like to share that was not covered in this post?

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Adelina Tuca

Adelina is a writer and WordPress blogger who’s been creating content for Themeisle for nearly a decade. Even though she mostly covers topics about WordPress and websites, she also specializes in content marketing, online tools, and methods that help you succeed online.

Updated on:

March 14, 2024