Starting a business can be incredibly complicated. It may seem like all you need to do is make a plan, buy a domain, and get going, but there’s so much more to it. When starting an online business, it’s essential to set off on the right foot, registering your business with the IRS and your state, performing a name and trademark search to make sure you won’t run into problems later, and staying in compliance with a wide range of regulations. Here’s an overview of how to start an online business.

Planning and Preparation

No business succeeds without a plan. When starting an online business, begin with research. Look up and identify:

Opportunities for Your Desired Business

Do you have a unique product or service or an improvement on products or services offered by others?

Competitors and Challenges

Are other businesses offering your same product or service? Who are they marketing their product to, and how successful are they? Can you expect the same results for your business? How will you compete in the industry?

Potential Customers and Revenue Sources

How many people want your product or service? What type of people are they (age, income, gender, interests, etc.)? Are they located in a specific region? What do they want from your product, and what do they expect to pay?

Costs and Strategies for Marketing and Advertising

How will you attract customers to your business and ensure their satisfaction with your product? How will you stand out from the competition and let people know about your business? If you plan on advertising, will you spend money to create the ads, and how much will it cost to place them?

Armed with all that information, set out to make a business plan. Write up what you offer, how you will compete, who your customer is, and your plan for success. Create a spreadsheet and add up:

Costs for Starting Your Business

These may include one-time costs for registering a corporation or buying business equipment or recurring costs like a domain and web hosting, advertising, etc.

Will you need to invest in developing your product, and how will you store inventory and/or distribute it to customers? Will you need to hire a web developer or graphic designer to create your website, design a logo, or design your ads?

Operating Costs

Many online businesses have low operating costs, especially at the beginning, but it’s worth considering. For example, do you need to pay rent on space or labor costs for staff? Do you need more bandwidth for connectivity or more online storage and security as your traffic grows?

Expected Revenue

Make a realistic plan for how much money you can earn from your business.

Future Plans

Over time, a successful business earns more money, while operating costs tend to stabilize, so make a one-year, five-year, or even ten-year plan to see where the future will take you.

The more thoroughly you research and plan, the better prepared you are to start and manage your business and build toward success.


Once you have a plan, you need to register your business. The exact procedure varies with your region, but it usually means registering your business with the state and federal government. Here are a few factors involved in registering your business.

Name and Trademark

Before you complete any forms, you need to search your desired business name to see if it is available or if there are any trademark concerns with your name. For an online business, you will also want to perform a domain name search to check availability.

What Type of Business Entity Will You Choose?

Consult an expert to determine what entity is suitable for your needs.

Formation Documents

Certain business types require formation documents. For example, if you are starting a partnership, you usually need to create a partnership agreement that outlines the terms.

State and Federal Registration Documents

Check with your state to determine the necessary forms and processes for registering a business in your state

Employer Identification Number

Every business needs an EIN or TIN for tax purposes. You can get one for free from the IRS by filling out the correct form

Ongoing Reports and Documents

State and federal governments expect regular documents and reports from business owners, but compliance depends on what state you are in.

Licenses, Permits, etc.

Some business types must have specific permits and licenses, depending on their location, industry, and business activities. You may want to consult with an expert to determine if you are required to carry specific permits, insurances, licenses, etc.

Because there is so much paperwork involved in registering a business, you may want to consider using a registered agent.

An agent is authorized to act on your behalf, so they file documents for you and receive government documents related to your business. This can save you a lot of time and confusion, and registered agents are experts, so they know exactly what you need to file and when.

How to Start an Online Business

Registered Agents You Can Use to Start Your Online Business


ZenBusiness is built to help you launch your online business fast, with expert support that takes the worry out of registering a business. ZenBusiness lets you:

  • Compare and choose business types to find the right kind of business for your needs
  • Search for your business name and make sure it’s available
  • Prepare and register your business paperwork
  • Provide annual reports and online documents for your business
  • They also offer additional services like:
  • Fast or rush filing
  • Registration of an Employer Identification Number
  • Ongoing state filings for compliance and good standing in local regulations
  • Business domain registration and email addresses
  • Business website creation and hosting

With expert advice, a free accounting consultation, and worry-free compliance with all federal and state regulations, ZenBusiness is an incredibly fast and easy way to register your online business and start off right.

They offer a 100% accuracy guarantee and have been featured in Fortune, The New York Times, Yahoo! Finance, TechCrunch, and more. ZenBusiness has over 6000 five-star reviews on Trustpilot, and they have a range of plans and prices to suit any entrepreneur.

ZenBusiness is passionate about supporting founders, protecting you from liability, keeping you in good standing, and working with integrity and transparency, so there are no hidden fees.

ZenBusiness is a Public Benefit Corporation that granted over $100,000 in small business loans in 2020. They are a great partner for your new venture.

Inc File

Inc File is simply the fastest and easiest way to choose the right type of business entity for your online business and then register your business. They offer easy tools to help you decide whether an LLC, S-corp, C-corp or nonprofit status is right for you.

In addition, Inc File offers free LLC filing, meaning you only pay state registration fees, so it’s incredibly affordable. With Inc File, you can:

  • Register or dissolve your business
  • Search for business names and trademarks
  • Add a DBA or perform a name change
  • File a foreign qualification to do business out of state
  • Register for an Employer or Tax Identification Number
  • Ensure ongoing compliance with a certificate of good standing and annual reports
  • Gold package members also receive bonuses like:
  • Expedited filing
  • Business contract templates
  • Domain name and business email
  • Tax consultations
  • Business banking account
  • IRS form 2553
  • Lifetime company alerts

Inc File’s custom business management dashboard keeps all your business essential information in the same place, making it easy to manage all your information and all your documents at once. Inc File has helped more than 500,000 entrepreneurs start their businesses and has over 25,000 verified reviews.

Inc File is committed to quality and transparency, and their support staff is never focused on selling you more products. Instead, they focus on providing you all the information you need to make the best decision for your business. It’s a simple, affordable, streamlined way to take your online business from vision to reality.

Inc Authority

Inc Authority is a comprehensive site for business founders and the official business formation partner of Shark Tank’s Daymond John. They offer everything you need to launch a small business fast, with simple tools and expert guidance that helps you make the right decisions. Inc Authority offers:

  • Free LLC registration (you pay state registration fees)
  • Registration of S-corps or other business entities
  • Formation documents preparation and filing
  • Business name check
  • Employer Identification Number
  • Tax planning consultation
  • Business credit and funding analysis
  • Digital storage and delivery of your start-up documents
  • Expert support staff to answer all your questions
  • Tycoon Business Bundle members can also access special services like:
  • A record book and company seal
  • Initial meeting minutes and resolutions
  • Complete operating agreement/bylaws
  • Ownership certificates
  • D&B credit bureau registration
  • Website domain
  • Express processing … and more

Inc Authority is also the exclusive partner of Bank of America small business, so you can speak with a specialist, open a business bank account, and even apply for a small business credit card from Bank of America.

Inc Authority is also partnered with brands like GoDaddy, PayPal, QuickBooks, ADP, and more. Inc Authority has helped launch more than 130,000 businesses and makes it fast, easy, and affordable to get started with your online business today.

Whether you choose to hire an agent or file all these documents yourself, remember that your business is ultimately your responsibility. It’s always a good idea to consult with an accountant and an attorney to make sure you’re making the right decisions, now and for the future.

Build and Launch!

Once your business is registered and set up, it’s time to turn your attention to your website and online presence. If you will be selling products online, you may want to choose a web host with integrated e-commerce tools and support.

You may want to hire a web designer to create a custom site that looks and works exactly how you want it. Consider whether you need a graphic designer for a logo, business cards, or other business collateral.

No matter what type of product or service you sell, you will need to manage customers, which means choosing a database and setting it up to handle their contact information, payment information, and order status. Many e-commerce sites will set this up for you, but you still need to learn how to manage and use this data.

Your customer data also forms the backbone of your beginning marketing strategy. It can help you identify the demographics that are most responsive to your product. Will you use email to spread the word about your business? Will you offer discount codes or other rewards?

When you go live and launch your business, use every resource you have to spread the word. For example, include it in your social media profiles, tell a friend and ask them to tell a friend, and share it online.

After the initial launch, avoid spamming people with too much self-promotion but continue to mention your business when it is topical and relevant.


Although this may look like it’s just a three-step process to start your online business, each step is detailed, complex, and time-consuming. However, the benefits of working for yourself and running your own business are well worth all the effort and help pave the way toward the life and the future you really want.

So, get started thinking and planning for your online business today, and enjoy your personal freedom and financial success in the future.

I hope you will get some useful information on how to start your own business in this article.

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