Ruari Fairbairns, founder and CEO of One Year No Beer shares some key pieces of advice around how best to set up a successful online business

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Ruari Fairbairns, CEO of One Year No Beer

With social distancing measures expected to stay in place for the coming weeks or even months, route to market for the majority of businesses has been severley disrupted. Overcoming these current societal challenges requires dedication, innovation and resilience and where possible, businesses will need to diversify their offering to incorporate an online platform as their primary sales and marketing channel.

When asked for three key pieces of advice Ruari would share to help people looking to set up or grow an online business, he commented:

Step 1 – Give away free stuff. You can do this through a podcast or a Facebook group and use this as a means to start building up an audience. Your following and their dedication to your business offering is key to your success so keep them engaged, informed and waiting for more from you. There is a great blog post called ‘1000 true fans’and I’ve used a lot of these guiding principals when growing our online community for One Year No Beer. Use the process of sharing content as an opportunity to perfect your videos and speaking and well as creating and growing a dedicated social media following. This might seem like a lot of work for little return in the short-term, but it will deliver value tenfold in the long run.

Step 2 – Choose one primary platform for engagement, don’t choose eight like we did at the beginning! It’s so easy to get caught up trying to be everything to everyone but you will create much more meaningful relationships with your customer if you find the right platform for your audience and just concentrate on mastering this. When trying to decide which platform to use, think about who you are trying to target. Work these all back to source and get really clear on who you are servicing and what pain point you are serving.

Step 3 – Finally spend some time establishing who those people are in terms of your key customers and work on perfecting your content at that specific avatar. Once you have started to build audience and you are getting buy in from people, that is when you can start monetising.

Finally, and I know I was only asked for three pieces of advice, but this is also really important. Make sure you don’t monetise your platform too soon. For all the complications that are out there, the reality is that you can create an online course within a month, using your expertise. Try giving it away for free and beta test it for as long as you can afford to. Feedback is invaluable and after a number of feedback rounds and revisions to your product, you will be in a really strong place to start monetising your business model and generating the income that you deserve.

OYNB is an online toolkit for surviving modern society alcohol-free and has recruited over 70,000 members worldwide. Ruari believes that having a community is crucial to making a positive lifestyle change, and so the founders are constantly finding new and exciting ways to provide this support.