One of the most challenging aspects of getting a virtual business up and running is the pre-launch phase, which includes lots of research and planning. Below are ten tips to help get you up and running quickly:

Step 1. Choose the type of service or product you want to offer.

Step 2: Certify that you have adequate knowledge, skills, ability, and industry experience.

Step 3: Lock down your business niche (your market) and specialize in two to three core service or product offerings.

Step 4: Evaluate how much time and energy you have to commit to getting your virtual business launched. Be honest!

Step 5: Identify who your clients are and how you will reach them.

Step 6: Ask yourself the hard question: Is there a need for my service(s) or product(s)? Use the following to make a true assessment: a customer, or a prospective customer, has to have three things: Need, Money and Authority and all three must be present or else you’re just wasting your time.
•Need – Do they need it – that is, do they have a problem which they recognize as needing to be fixed, for which your service or product is a good possible solution?

•Money – Do they have money – if they do have the need, do they have the budget under their control to spend on your service or product?
•Authority – Do they have authority – that is, do they have the organizational power to make the decision to buy your service or product, and, this is separate from having the budget itself.

Step 7: Give serious thought and consideration to your budgetary constraints, projected expenses, expected income and how long you can “float” until your business is generating income on its own; work on developing your online (virtual) presence; purchase domain name(s).
Step 8: Develop a business plan, action plan or plan of action and review it often to manage company growth.
Step 9: Get all legal and financial areas in order prior to securing your first contract or client; examine your equipment, software and virtual office space for maximum productivity.

Step 10: Market your service(s) or product(s) at every opportunity; work on establishing yourself as an industry expert; start your marketing efforts locally.

After launching your virtual business, consider joining one to two professional organizations, they can be local and/or virtual, doing so will give you the opportunity to network, build camaraderie, self-confidence, and a personal support network.

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