Are you planning to create an online business but do not know where to start? Are you currently running an offline business and would like to utilize the power of the internet to grow your profit? Are you an online business owner who’s close to having to give up your dreams because your marketing plans seem to be not working well? If you answered yes to one of these questions, then this article series is for you. In this series I have shared with you the essential steps to create a successful online business. I am going to go into details about each of these steps to give you much information that you will need to succeed in your online business.In this first article of the series I will discuss the steps to creating a good business plan and conducting market research, and also some tips in analyzing your competition.Conduct a Good Business PlanI cannot stress enough how important it is to have a well-organized business plan before starting any business. Your business plan will serve as your reference in all the actions that you are going to implement in your business. To some, creating a good business plan seems overwhelming, but let’s be realistic and recognize this is just the first task. There are many more steps that you need to take if you want your business to succeed and the next steps can be more challenging, but don’t be disheartened. When done correctly a good business plan is the key to your online business growth. A business plan helps keeping you organized and focused on the actions that you will take in running your online business.A good business plan should have realistic financial projections or forecasts. Do not set figures which are unrealistic and impossible to achieve. Your business plan must be clear and straight to the point and should be action-oriented. It must present a clear understanding of the business processes of your company.Research your Market and Monitor your CompetitionBefore you start your online business it is vital to know how your industry is going so make sure that you do market research before anything else. Gather as much information as possible about your target customers, your type of product or service and your industry trends. All of this information will help you implement the perfect marketing strategy for your online business. You can get information from business journals, government publications and over the internet. If you want more thorough research, you can also utilize customer surveys.Studying and monitoring competition is one of the most important steps in creating a successful online business. Monitoring your competition will help you identify your competitor’s weak points and create a good business campaign, emphasizing strengths of your business where you have identified their weaknesses. This will also help you get a glimpse of your competitor’s operating systems and so you can endeavor to make your service or product a better one than your competition.The process of creating a business plan that will work, doing market research and using strategies to monitor your competition can be confusing and complex. Make sure that you’re maximizing your opportunities by seeking the advice of an internet marketing mentor who is capable of providing expert advice in creating a successful online business.