Understanding how to start a legitimate online business starts by first understanding the way online marketing and sales works. Below I have outlined 5 different phases that you can use to help you prepare and successfully launch your online business Although following these phases will drastically increase your chances of success, ultimately the key to your online success will fall on your own unique ability to get things done! Your drive, determination, ability to set goals and follow through with them will determine your level of success with your online business. Most people tend to rush into things without doing their proper due diligence and research. You need to first know what it is you’re promoting or marketing. Is it a physical product or service? Who your target market is and what do they expect to gain from your company or business. Once you take a moment to figure this out then, you’ll move on to phase 2 of your initial set up.Phase 1 – Register your Business EntityThis is so Important but yet most people totally skip it. Getting your company registered with your state will save you a ton down the road. You can find tons of resources online to register your business name with your state. If you want to create a legitimate online business do yourself a favor and take care of the legal side of your business right from the beginning It will allow you to operate as a legally registered business, accept forms of payment under your business name, hire staff (if needed), write off business expenses, open up business accounts, open up a line of credit for your business, save you in instances when someone trying to sue you and you have the benefit of being able to write of business expenses using your company’s Tax ID number.Phase 2 – Choosing your nicheThis is the simplest step but, for some can take the most time to overcome. I suggest you choose a niche in which you know. Try to go into a niche that you’re comfortable with that you’re also interested in. Don’t let the products decide what niche you’re going to go into. You choose your niche and then you choose a product that fits your specific niche. Don’t try to spread yourself too thin either. If your business is structured around music & equipment, avoid complicating things right off the bat by introducing other non related products that don’t coincide with your main product. Get good at selling one thing before you move on to the next.Phase 3 – Selecting Your Base of OperationsThis is the phase where you decide what online platform you will use to base your initial campaign from. If its physical products then you might want to start off by creating a seller account in the marketplace where your targeted audience is known to be, that receives a good volume of traffic. If you plan on going the digital route or information marketing, you will most likely need to create a website of your own. Whichever you choose, keep in mind that this should be your central hub for all traffic and communications between you and your potential customers. Your online business needs to look as legitimate as possible right from the start. People base a lot of their buying & interaction of perception. The more authentic and legitimate your online business looks, the greater your chances of converting visitors into potential customers and traffic into leads which ultimately converts into a paid customer.Phase 4 – Preparing Your Home Base to Open ShopOnce Phase 2 is completed and you’ve found your central hub make sure that you’ve done everything cosmetic that you can possibly do. If you want to look like a legitimate online business right from the start then it would be beneficial to have a company logo created and a few different website banners designed that match your overall theme. You can have this created for cheap by going to a site like fiverr.com. You also want to decide on a color theme for your website that matches your logo. You’ll need to choose who or what will be presented as the face of your online business. People want to know who or what figure represents this company in the public eye.Phase 5 – Getting CustomersOnce you have went through the 4 phases and you have a product or service to promote your next step will be to drive customers or leads to your online business. What’s having the best product or service in the world if no one can find it? No good at all. There’s two forms of driving customers to your online business or as we online marketers refer to it as “driving traffic” and that’s the free way or the paid way. Paid ways include but are not limited to google ads, banner advertisements on other high traffic websites, TV advertising radio & newspaper ads. Some free ways to drive traffic and generate leads/customers consist of social media, word of mouth, youtube.com, blogging & article marketing or joining a network with other like-minded individuals The free ways could appear to be slower, results wise but in the log run can be the base source of stable traffic & leads for your business, if your marketing budget was to dry out. Consider your budget and map out your strategy wisely.