Anyone with spare time and internet access can start an online business. A successful online business, however, takes perseverance and care. Whatever your product or service, there are several ways to ensure you grow and stand out.
A successful business is highly rewarding, and we know that all rewards come with an equal amount of risk. It’s necessary to address these risks head-on. Most importantly, putting all your time and resources into a startup business means it will likely be a while before the company builds income and you receive a salary. You need a financial plan that involves large investments and small initial profits. Any business is a financial gamble, but online businesses come with specific risks from the online community. You must protect your company from the hazards of hacking and copyright infringement. The best way to do this is to be precise; patent your brand and its products, purchase software to arm yourself against hackers, and ensure your intellectual property remains your property.
Secondly, there’s strength in numbers, so if you’re truly dedicated to your online business, it’s time to build a network. Maintaining relationships with like-minded individuals will highlight the issues with your business that you may not see on your own and inspire new concepts and ideas. This might also mean delegating or outsourcing tasks that require it, so that you can focus on the bigger picture. Surrounding yourself with driven and helpful individuals will also serve as motivation to persevere through the challenges of growing a new business.
In the world of online business, it isn’t enough to be good – you must be unique. Whether it’s a logo, slogan, or the entire service: to attract customers, it’s vital to stand out. Find out who your target audience is and appeal to them. Social media marketing is no longer an option, it’s a necessity in today’s competitive market. The modern consumer is quick to detect insincerity so avoid patronizing, and build off of given feedback from your customers and network. This will ensure that you stand out amongst a flood of clickbait.
Finally, the most important step in growing your business is appealing directly to customers. In online business, it’s necessary to implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to make yourself visible to possible clients and consumers. SEO not only helps consumers find the exact service they’re looking for, but also provides businesses with insight into that consumer’s exact needs. Once the customer finds you, you want to keep them around – make communication with your customers a priority, whether their reviews are positive or negative. Be fair and generous by implementing loyalty discounts, and by swiftly and efficiently handling complaints. Consistently rewarding not only your loyal patrons, but the unsatisfied ones as well, shows that you care and makes them more likely to return. Remember, you’re playing the long game.
With any business, old or new, these steps alone are not enough to ensure success. To build a successful online business, you must be passionate, motivated, and pushed by failure to work harder and smarter.
Jasmine Cormier | Contributing Writer