In 2021, a real revolution took place in small and medium-sized businesses: a significant part of small and medium-sized businesses moved online. There are several reasons: accessible high-speed Internet, the rapid development of mobile applications, and the lockdown associated with the pandemic. The successful development of online businesses has become a signal for aspiring entrepreneurs: if you start your own business in 2024, you should do it online. We tell you which online business is better to choose this year.
Who is Suitable for Online Business?
Online business is the most democratic type of entrepreneurship. There is no need to spend effort and a lot of money on creating an impressive facade of a modern office with expensive stylish interiors, magnificent presentations and branded suits, the function of which is to impress potential partners and clients. An online business requires only high-quality, reliable work that can be carried out even with minimal investment, and respect for interlocutors, be they investors, partners or customers.
The motto of online business is the phrase: “Invest in the development of the business exactly as much as is necessary, and no more.” This format allows the entrepreneur to set a flexible work schedule. And after the work processes are established, you can even install a chat bot that will respond to incoming requests and answer popular questions.
Online business is suitable for all groups of beginners (and experienced) entrepreneurs:
- For students, young mothers on maternity leave and people who care for elderly or sick relatives – as it allows you to create a flexible work schedule and often requires minimal investment;
- For young professionals – since this is the best way to express themselves, because in online entrepreneurship they evaluate not diplomas and entries in the work book, but real competencies;
- For entrepreneurs of retirement age – since it minimizes physical activity (no need to travel to the office every day), allows you to work in a comfort zone;
- For schoolchildren – since online business is perhaps the only opportunity to earn their first money without distributing flyers or selling ice cream during the summer holidays. It is very difficult to officially find employment at the age of 14-18 in many countries, and most employers try not to get involved with underage employees due to restrictions and liability.
How to Choose the Best Online Business for Yourself
First of all, you need to objectively and critically evaluate your skills and abilities, taking into account your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you avoid wasting time and energy on business ideas that you are unlikely to succeed at.
Even if you have unique knowledge in one or another popular field, but are tongue-tied or desperately stuttered, it is better not to take up online teaching or your own thematic channel with audio and video content on social networks. And if you don’t know how to manage anger and the principles of a grammar Nazi are more important to you than successful deals, then you are unlikely to be able to conduct online sales: you will scare away buyers with sarcastic comments about their mistakes .
You need to determine whether you can invest in your online business or whether only a business idea is suitable for you that can be developed without investment, from scratch, or with minimal investment.
In the first case, you may find that you can combine small home production (for example, making sweets, printing on T-shirts and other souvenirs, sewing bed linens, making shelves and other simple carpentry, growing exotic flowers) and further sale of your goods through the online store.
In the second, you can join a successful chain franchise (some of them do not require an entry fee from the franchisee).
Decide how you will market your products or services and make sure you are competitive.
For example, to start making money from your account on social networks, you need to become interesting to tens or hundreds of thousands of users (on Instagram and TikTok, bloggers with at least a million subscribers receive advertising contacts worth hundreds of thousands of rubles) .
Determine how much time per day, per week you can devote to your online business.
Some types of online businesses require presence at the computer for 4-5 hours a day (as a rule, these are lessons, master classes and consultations at times determined by the businessmen themselves).
Other online business ideas require an almost 24/7 online presence. First of all, we are talking about online stores in areas with high competition, such as stores of household appliances and electronics, building materials, Asian cosmetics, children’s clothing, and pet products, which are sold throughout the country. If a potential buyer asks a clarifying question about a product via direct message and does not receive an answer within half an hour, he will simply place an order in another store. If you are ready for this, this business is for you.
Successful bloggers, by the way, also don’t get success by themselves: they win the attention of millions of subscribers by spending 8-10 hours every day creating fascinating content, filming and editing videos, developing scripts, polishing their image, and participating in offline events for fans.
Top in-Demand Online Businesses in 2024
Online business in 2024 will cover most areas of life: it is no longer only online stores and the development of social networks, but also services, sports, clubs, tourism and much more. We have collected the top popular areas of online business.
Online Business Franchises
This is the most convenient way to start a business for aspiring entrepreneurs who are not ready to take the risk of starting an online business with their own business idea. A franchise gives them the opportunity to get a ready-made turnkey business idea with a well-developed strategy, a proven business plan, and all the tools for doing business, right down to marketing moves.
In 2024, the most profitable franchises of mobile trading applications, trading platforms, and online clothing and footwear stores. The average investment in opening an online store as a franchise is about 50-70 thousand rubles. There are franchises without investments that do not require a lump sum fee, royalties, costs of rent, repairs and equipment of the office and even employees.
This is the fastest growing segment of online business. In 2021, sales volumes in online stores increased by more than 200% compared to 2020 volumes (compared to 2019, the segment grew 8 times).
Consumers have already appreciated the convenience of remote shopping: there is no need to waste time traveling to supermarkets, standing in lines, or communicating with not always friendly staff. And offers of free delivery to your door or to pick-up points and free exchange of goods have led to people starting to make even the smallest everyday purchases online.
Top popular online trading directions
- Household and electronic appliances
- Household products
- Clothes and shoes
- Goods for pets
- Children’s toys, board and educational games
- Everything for gardening
- Costume jewelry and jewelry
- Books and other printed products
Despite the abundance of online stores, this market is not yet saturated and is waiting for new players.
Dropshipping in Online Business
At the very top of the list of successful business ideas in online business today are online stores operating on the principle of dropshipping, that is, acting as an intermediary between manufacturers and buyers. The turnover of dropshipping stores across a wide range of products (from children’s clothing to car tires) has grown tenfold over the past year.
In 2021, dropshipping was one of the most profitable ways to grow a business from scratch to multi-million dollar turnover. A dropshipper businessman does not need to invest in office and warehouse space or hire numerous staff. Often a computer with a stable Internet connection is sufficient. Judging by market development trends, the trend will continue for years to come.
The specificity of this method of sales is that the dropshipper does not deliver to his own warehouse – he does not have a warehouse at all, which allows him to open a business from scratch. This is the optimal online business idea for an entrepreneur from a small town or regional center, since he is not at all tied to the infrastructure of the place.
The website of an online store becomes a virtual trading platform. The dropshipper receives orders and transfers them to manufacturers, who send goods to customers’ addresses and are responsible for delivery. In this chain “manufacturer – product – buyer”, the dropshipper is responsible for ensuring that the buyer sees this particular product and becomes interested in it. His task is to organize an online store with a convenient search engine, with a favorable presentation of each product.
But Wildberries is not a monopolist in the field of dropshipping. Every entrepreneur today has the opportunity, with minimal investment, to create an attractive online fair for a certain group of goods or everything in the world, which will compete on equal terms with the monsters of the business area. Dozens of enterprises today directly write on their websites that they are interested in selling their products using online dropshippers. It is enough to collect a package of manufacturers producing current, in-demand products, launch a clear website, and your successful business has begun.
In 2024, this is one of the most rapidly developing online business niches. In March 2020, thousands of insurance firms, law firms, and companies that outsourced the accounting of small and medium-sized businesses switched to remote work.
During the lockdown, clients were convinced that the quality of services in the new format did not suffer, but prices dropped – the cost of renting an office, transport to and from work, purchasing new uniforms or suits that meet the dress code disappeared from the cost of their services. The reduction in the cost of services was also influenced by a new type of competition: if offline service businesses competed only with colleagues from the same locality or region, then online all specialists in the country joined the competition. Businessmen realized that online legal advice can just as easily be obtained from a certified lawyer from any region.
For the entrepreneurs themselves who provide online services, in the new economic reality, along with competition, the number of potential clients has increased many times over.
Top popular services that can be provided online
- Legal advice
- Business consulting
- Tutor and teacher services in a variety of areas
- Outsourced accounting
- Psychological therapy
- Writing and translation services
- Real estate services
- Online companions for singles and seniors
INTERESTING! The online companion service appeared at the height of the pandemic, when social workers were unable to visit lonely and elderly people. But you could talk to them on Skype. One hour of such communication a day allowed the elderly to maintain a zest for life and gave them the feeling that they were not alone. The service caught on even after the lockdown was lifted. Entrepreneurs of all ages with any education can provide this service. All you need is sensitivity, non-irritability and responsibility.
If in 2020 many refused to go on vacation altogether, then in 2021 and 2022 a significant part of their compatriots decided to go on a trip, but preferred domestic tourism. It turned out that when planning routes, booking hotels or apartments, buying tickets for trains, trains, buses, and ordering tickets to local museums, domestic tourists trust residents of the regions more than federal travel agencies. You can offer a similar service to fully support a tourist trip in your region.
Similar trends have emerged in many areas. Here are the most popular online service business ideas in 2024:
- Organization of online delivery
- Full support of tourist trips
- Valuation of rarities
- Representing a client on the foreign exchange market or brokerage exchange
Development of Websites, Applications, Software
The IT sector is experiencing a real boom today. Any online business requires software. Each new business idea needs its own online platforms: a website, a mobile application, a properly designed page on social networks. In addition, a trend is developing for smart homes, complex robotics, and smart devices controlled by programs based on artificial intelligence. This is all a field for entrepreneurs.
What online business ideas for IT and software professionals are in demand in 2024? Here are some options:
- Turnkey website creation
- Mobile application development
- Writing programs for construction and robotics businesses
- Software development for new online services
The third decade of the 21st century will be the heyday of online business. Thanks to social networks, the habit of remote communication appeared in past years, and now trade, services, and services are rapidly moving online. In the first half of 2022 alone, e-commerce grew by 59%, with more than 93% of trade coming from the domestic market, which grew by more than 60 percent due to sanctions. In order to keep up with the times and find your niche in online business, you should now think about implementing your business idea in this virtual sphere, which brings very real profits.