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How to Build an Online Business by Bernadette Schwerdt

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Chapter 107 questions to ask before you build your online business

The big disruptors know something most don’t. They know that if the goal is to create a seriously disruptive business, that impacts millions of people, that can scale quickly without a commensurate increase in costs, then they must choose carefully what they sell, how they sell it, to whom they sell it and the business model that underpins each transaction.

Here are seven questions that all the big disruptors ask to help them make those important decisions. Founding Executive Director of Singularity University Salim Ismail covers these in greater detail in his ground-breaking book, Exponential Organisations but here’s the quick-start guide to the questions you should be asking before you take any further action.

1. What will you sell?

Before you decide what you’re going to sell and how you’re going to sell it, it’s worth hearing what Tony Nash of Booktopia has to say about choosing business models. He runs a business that turns over $100 million, so he knows what he’s talking about.

People often come to me with an idea and I hear them out. And then I ask, ‘So when are people going to hand over the money?’ And they’ll say, ‘Oh, when they subscribe, or the site will generate advertising.’ But it’s all very vague. It won’t cut it. I’m trying to be fair and honest with them, but in the beginning, it’s all about cash flow rather than financial statements. Where’s the money coming from? What have I got to pay out? ...

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