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Australian entrepreneur Kelly Baker-Jamieson, founder of online gourmet gifting site Edible Blooms, knows a thing or two about the challenges and difficulties in starting up an online business.

Like many entrepreneurs, Baker-Jamieson encountered cash flow requirements, staffing issues and server crashes. However, fast forward six years and she’s successfully grown her business from just one employee and a range of nine products, to four company owned stores across Australia, 25 employees, over 100 products and offshore expansion on the horizon.

As a recent Telstra Business Award winner and creator of thriving online business venture Edible Blooms, Baker-Jamieson has established herself as a successful authority within the challenging online retail sphere.

Here, she offers her top tips to help make sure your online start-up achieves similar success:

  1. Firstly and foremost, take a holiday before you start – you have a busy time ahead!
  2. Do what you love. You’ll be in it for the long haul, so make sure it’s a journey you are passionate about.
  3. Do your numbers. How will you fund your idea? What is your cash flow cycle like? Will it enable growth after start-up? Taking time to work out your finances from the start ensures you actually have enough money to bring your idea to life.
  4. Register your domain name in as many versions as you can (ie .com.au / .com / .net.)  Also register any popular spelling (or misspelling) variations of your business name. Through doing so you are ensuring your online brand is protected right from the start.
  5. Be the customer. Research other websites that you like. You don’t have to start from scratch, put together a portfolio of features and styles from other websites – this is a great way to give your design and technical team clear direction and vision for your own website.
  6. Get the right design and technical partners on board. Shop around and find someone that ‘gets’ you and your idea. Don’t be afraid to invest in technology that allows for growth, it will pay dividends.
  7. Register your business logo as intellectual property. You want to make sure your logo and design is unique and exclusive to your brand.
  8. Pay for expert advice. Seeking advice from your accountant, lawyer or any other relevant professionals, from the start will save you money in the long term. Good advisors are worth their weight in gold.  (Coincidentally Edible Blooms have a very appropriate thank you gift with that same name!)
  9. Spend any marketing budget that you have online. If you’re an online business then it’s really important that your website is attracting the right customers. Use Google Analytics to get an idea of who your customers are and, from there, direct your future marketing budget accordingly.
  10. Keep on trucking! Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results straight away, these things take time.

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Lorna Brett

Lorna Brett

Lorna was Dynamic Business’ Social Web Editor in 2011/12. She’s a social media obsessed journalist, who has a passion for small business. Outside the 9 to 5, you’re likely to find her trawling the web for online bargains, perfecting her amateur photography skills or enjoying one too many cappucinos. You can follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/dynamicbusiness">Twitter @DynamicBusiness</a>

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