Part of what makes the Internet so great is the ease with which anyone can create their own business. If they already have a business, then they can multiply the size of it by magnitudes by expanding to the online market. By going online, you are able to reach a virtually limitless supply of customers who are all looking to buy your product.
Unfortunately, the ease with which an individual can set up a business online has led to a much higher rate of failure. Because people who are not as serious or entrepreneurial are now having a go at business, many of these people will not succeed without a very strong work ethic.
There are also many hidden pitfalls of online business for which countless people have fallen. Without a proper education in the dangers of online business, it is easy to fail even though the person performed all of the traditional business practices successfully. In short, running a business online is a very different undertaking from running a business in a brick-and-mortar store.
Despite everything else, running a business on the Internet opens up the possibility for untold success and wealth. There can be no doubt that online businesses are capable of making far more money at an even lower cost than a traditional store. That is why the vast majority of all successful businesses have at least a respectable online presence.
When a business goes online, there are some special considerations that must be heeded. These change depending on whether the business already exists in a brick-and-mortar store or if it is just starting online with no physical presence. A great deal of consideration has to be given to the hidden pitfalls of online business to ensure that they are avoided.
For many entrepreneurs who have started their own local business, have done fairly well, and then are looking for a little more, the Internet is a logical progression. Unfortunately for these individuals, business success online is not the same thing as business success from a store.
Although the skills necessary for success online are very similar to those required for success from a store, there are very key differences. However, anyone looking to make the leap should continue to rely on the skills that have always served them well: work ethic, social networking, and appealing sales pitches.
The first step required for expanding a business online is to get a website. Assuming that the small business owner does not have the skills necessary to make their own website, they must find someone with those skills. Cost and time necessary for developing a website vary greatly based on the needs of the website, but a normal business can expect to spend anywhere from $500-$5000 for a quality website. Any price under that carries a high risk of under delivering, and any website for more than that (assuming typical demands) is simply too much.
Once a website is set up, the requirements for business growth are much the same as they are for a traditional business. The product must be marketed successfully and the potential customers must be able to see it. However, the ways in which these things are done online are very different. Customers can be brought to your website through traditional methods, but you can access a much larger pool of potential candidates through Internet-specific means.
There is an entire body of knowledge regarding Internet marketing, and if you are unfamiliar with it, then it would be best to hire someone specifically trained in Internet marketing. They may make use of such methods as search engine optimization (SEO), affiliate networks, directories, and social networks.
Once a customer comes to your website – assuming that the website does its job by convincing them to buy the product – the rest is up to you. Just as with a typical in-person customer, you should be sure that your customer feels well taken care of. Keep up constant communication and be sure that the product gets to them in a timely manner, and still intact.
Nowadays, it is far more common for a business to start online than it is for a business to start in a physical store. The reasons for this are varied, but it comes down to the fact that it is easier to start a business online. There are very low start-up costs, essentially just what it takes to get the website running.
Online businesses also appeal to many entrepreneurs who are less willing to put themselves out in the open. Due to the nature of the Internet, these business owners are not required to meet with their customers face to face and never have more direct interaction than a couple of impersonal e-mails.
When starting an eBusiness, it is very important for a business owner to make up for the fact that they do not own a store. A store is a good marketing tool in and of itself; potential customers will pass by the store and may just walk in. This is not the case online: customers cannot just “pass by” your website. You must be sure to make an effort to get out the word about yourself.
Just as mentioned above, Internet marketing is necessary for gaining publicity online. Other than the Internet-specific means of gaining interest for your business, you can rely on many of the marketing tactics that traditional businesses use. You can get people to your website by placing fliers in your local area, attending conventions, and airing commercials on television or radio.
The real key to an eBusiness is that the business owner has to be sure to stay motivated to ensure his or her success. It is very easy to lose track of what you are doing with an eBusiness and simply let it fall apart. Normally, small businesses that start online simply operate out of the owner’s home. It is easy for someone working from home to drift into slacking off and not get enough work done.
As with any business, an eBusiness owner must be truly devoted to their business. They have to have a strong work ethic, the desire to put in a lot of hours, and the necessary skills for a business and for whatever their individual field is.
As you have likely come to realize by this point, there are quite a few issues that the well-informed business owner must be aware of before taking their business online. The biggest of these, as mentioned, is the tendency for the business owner to get drawn off track. It is much harder to stay motivated when running an eBusiness than it is when sitting in a store all day.
Although it adds to cost, one way to stay motivated and not distracted is to rent a small office to work out of instead of your home. At home, you can get drawn away from work by the TV, kitchen, or telephone. At the office, there is nothing to distract your attention from work and success.
Another common mistake made by businesses online is not relying on traditional forms of marketing at all. Although you may have gone with an online business to avoid face contact with potential customers, it really is one of the best ways to get the word out about yourself. There are incredibly valuable contacts to be made at conferences held locally for your specific field.
There is a much better conversion rate among customers that you spend a good amount of time with than with visitors that are just passing by your website. If you take the time to develop a relationship, you are greatly increasing the probability of a more profitable sale. The general formula for any small business is that the more time you put in, the more profit you will get out.
One oft-made mistake is too much reluctance to spend money when pursuing an online business. Beyond the website, it will almost certainly be necessary to spend more money. Assuming you are a typical person, you will need someone to help you with marketing, packaging and shipping, and just about every other aspect of your business. No business can expect success without a significant upfront investment.
In short, if you take your business seriously, then you have a much higher chance of success whether you operate physically or online. If you are well prepared for taking your business online and are willing to put in the time and effort that is necessary, then take the leap and get ready for large amounts of potential customers and sales.