In the past, setting up a retail business meant buying out a large shop and filling it with products.
Your sales rates would be limited to the amount of people that come down your road. Of course, this costs a lot to set up and can be without any reward. But, since the dawn of the Internet, businesses have been floating to the surface, with only a website in toe.
It’s much cheaper and easier to run a business that’s solely online. But, it does still require a lot of work. To help you out, this post will go through exactly what you need to think about when building your online empire. This process can be a very stressful one, but it’s usually worth it in the end. Don’t let the work you have to do put you off; otherwise, you’ll never be successful in business.
Of course, when starting an online business, the first thing to build is a website. Some people prefer to use other platforms to run their business. But, this could severely stunt your growth in the future. If you want to sell on a service like eBay , make sure to have a website as well. Otherwise, your business is just a seller on an auction site.
A good website should be easy to use, primarily.
If it’s too hard to navigate or confusing, customers will be put off. But, it also needs to be professional. This means building a good balance between ease of use and beauty, which can be a big challenge. And, of course, a website should also be branded. It should reflect your business well, and make the user feel like it’s an extension of your ideals.
Because you’ll be selling things on your website, it needs to be secure.
This means that you need an SSL certificate , at the very least. These can be obtained from most web hosting companies, and are easy to set up. If you are selling through your site, you’ll also need a secure payment gateway and checkout system. Thankfully, these services are offered by companies like Braintree , so you don’t have to worry about hosting them yourself.
Your website will be the area of your business that makes or breaks most sales.
If you operate solely from your site, it will be the only impression customers have of you. So, it needs to be a very good one. Customers will only buy products from websites that make them feel comfortable and safe that their money isn’t being thrown away.
In recent years, a lot of online businesses have found success in creating mobile apps. Of course, your website should still look and feel great on mobiles . But, having an app will make the experience much more pleasant for the user. It will also give you a way to ensure that customers have a permanent tie to your company. With your app on their phone, they will see your logo whenever they go into their menu. This is a great way to get people interested in your business.
Your app should be designed with your website in mind.
It should reflect your brand and business, but also be easy to use. If it looks too dissimilar to your website, it won’t be recognisable. But, if it’s exactly like your website, there will be no reason to use it. Make sure that you have a good middle ground here, and that the app looks great.
For a business that operates solely online, social media is an incredibly powerful tool.
Facebook alone has hundreds of millions of active users, who log in everyday. And, even for businesses, most social media sites are completely free. So, in essence, social media is a free advertising platform with the potential to reach millions of people. Wasting the chance is a bad idea. You will find that a lot of your initial customers come from social media when you first start out.
Social media posts should also reflect your website, just like your app.
They should always be relevant to your business, and should always be appropriate for your customer base. Social media is an easy place to go wrong. You can’t get involved with arguments or allow people to be rude. But, you also have to maintain peace on your own posts. This can be a hard balance. So, it’s best to leave problem users to the site staff. They will be able to deal with them if you report bad users.
Making these decisions can be very hard for a small business.
If you’re not very savvy when it comes to IT, you’ll struggle to find and choose services that work for you the most. Consultants can take this out of your hands, and make suggestions to help your business get started in IT. If they make a bad suggestion, and it has a negative effect on your business, you can take some action and get a little bit back from them. This is a great way to choose your web hosting and security options.
And, of course, if you’re not IT savvy, developing a website and app will be a huge struggle. Learning a programming language will take some time. So, it’s best to have someone else do it. Thankfully, developers are everywhere, nowadays. This makes it nice and easy to find one that can do your work at your budget. Usually, it’s best to go through a freelance developer . They will be much cheaper than an agency and will be able to offer a wider range of services. Always makes sure that you have contracts in place with workers like this, though.
Believe or not, though, you can have both your consultancy and development handled by one company. This is a great way to get things set up. It means that the people who know your business’ needs the best will be acting to design all corners of its solution. A website like www.wondermentapps.com is a great place to get started. Companies like this have a wealth of experience when it comes to getting online businesses up and running. And, they can help you long into the future, as your business grows.
As mentioned above, security is key in running an online business.
In most countries, you will be required to handle data in a certain way. The type of data will dictate how you handle it. For instance, in most places, you can’t share customer data without permission. Sharing information doesn’t have to be on purpose, either. If your servers are compromised, and data is stolen, you could be responsibly. Not only could this hold a lot of legal weight, it could also make customers feel a lack of trusts for your business. This makes security one of your top priorities when setting up your business.
Hopefully, this will inspire you to start working on your business’ online presence right away. It’s important to make sure that the experience you give your users is as good as possible. People will use your website and other tools as a measure of your professionalism. So, it’s worth investing in them very early on.
You can look at any money that you spend on this process as investment. And, you have to be patient. Your business dreams won’t come true overnight. You have to spend a long time working at it before you will see any reward. Don’t give up, though. It only takes a couple of good moves, and a business can be at the top of it’s market. It’s well worth all of the work when this happens.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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