Secondly, advances in mobile technology have allowed commerce to go mobile. The mobile phone has become “smarter” and has evolved into a compact office.
Finally, technology has strongly influenced how business is conducted. 79% of companies worldwide go online every day looking for suppliers, contractors and new markets. The Internet has become a key market place to build a successful business; there are 3,049,740,340 users every day. If you consider the fact that the number of smart phones will hit two billion by the end of 2015, now is the time to start an online business!
How to start a successful online business
- Commit to Entrepreneurship. The idea of starting a business is exciting; most would-be entrepreneurs get caught up with finding the greatest business concept and overlook a key reality of owning a business: Failure. Starting a business is difficult and there are many challenges to overcome. Unless you can commit to the demands of the venture and have the fortitude to see it through periods of turbulence, it would be best not to pursue your dream of entrepreneurship.
- Identify your passion. I have come across articles on the process of starting a business and most would recommend finding a need and building a business from it. In Australia, “Adult Toys” was one of the most purchased items online by women in 2014. If “Adult Toys” was not your core competence and you have no experience with them, would you start an online business on it? If you have committed to entrepreneurship, then you will be allocating most of your time growing your business. Your level of commitment and fortitude will be magnified if your business deals with your passion.
- Get your capital ready. Starting an online business does not require much capital but you still need to invest in facilities and equipment as well as have funding to support your operations for six months while you are building your brand. Among the key expenses are business licenses and permits, Internet subscription, salaries and utilities. Even though you have committed to an online business, considering that the first two quarters are intended for gaining traction, it may be advisable to launch it while you are still gainfully employed to make sure you have access to funds. Another option is to get a business partner.
- Hire professionals. Every online business owner must have a website. And despite the availability of free, downloadable website templates it would be best to hire a professional website designer to minimize mistakes and maximize its potential to generate business. Content is critical in brand building and if writing is not one of your strengths, do not hesitate hiring a professional writer.
- Manage your time. As the business owner, you need to allocate time to handle the crucial tasks in developing your enterprise but at the same time you have to attend to non-essential tasks that lend support to your operation. The best option would be to hire a Virtual Assistant. A Virtual Assistant or VA is a person who is contracted to perform a set of tasks usually online from a remote location. A VA is a more cost-effective solution than hiring a full-time employee because you only pay for the hours worked and he or she is not entitled to benefits.
- Build a Mobile Responsive Website. According to research engine, Forrester, in 2014, 60% of online traffic came from mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. If your website is not responsive or displays conveniently in mobile devices, statistics show 50% of Internet users will never patronize your business while 47% would patronize a competitor whose website is mobile responsive.
- Drive inbound traffic to your website. In order for your website to generate sales, you must be able to drive inbound traffic to it. In the digital marketplace, you need to be strategic with the use of online marketing tools. The purpose of online marketing is to increase your visibility in the Internet. Among the more effective online marketing tools are SEO techniques, social media marketing, link building, e-mail marketing and blogging.
- Source for reliable suppliers. If your online business involves a tangible product or service, make sure you have a reliable and highly reputable supplier who can manufacture top quality items. In a world that has grown heavily-influenced by social media, all it takes is one disgruntled customer to post an image or article on your sub-par product and service to hinder your efforts and potentially shatter your dreams.
Perhaps more than owning a car or a house, owning a business is the most sought after dream of an individual. Cars and houses depreciate over time but a business gives you the opportunity to improve your way of life. Your success is literally in your hands.
Or perhaps in a tap of the keypad or a click of the mouse.