Practical Tips for Growing Your Business Online
If you are reading this article then, statistically, it is very likely that you’re on the cusp of beginning an online start-up business. There are numerous businesses which perform well online, and this is a number that is only growing by the day. For example, remote IT or web services (a massive industry sector), e-commerce, and the other forms of online business are only growing in number. Online business has, after all had a bit of catching up to do. E-commerce has been around for around 30 years; brick and mortar businesses for pretty much all of human history!
An Alarming Failure Rate
Taking only U.S. figures, the rate of failure of new start-ups (the majority online) sits at around 25% after two years. That means that a quarter of new online businesses don’t even get off the ground. Extend that timescale to five years (still hardly an impressive longevity for a business) and that failure rate has doubled to 50%.
There are many reasons why this is the case. However, it is important to note that not having enough starting capital is not actually one of them. For sure, you need to be investing more as your business grows (hopefully derived from increased revenues) but this is not the case at the beginning. It is actually perfectly possible to start an online business with limited funds – the problem is in successfully growing the business.
Indeed, this is where most businesses fail – they misunderstand what growth is, what it means, and when is the best time to pursue it. Generally speaking, stagnation is not an option in business. You have to grow or go under.
Tips for Growing an Online Business
So, how do you do that? Here follows some top tips to that end:
Get Your Website Right
Setting up your e-commerce site brings with it one great advantage – it is cheap. Or, at the very least, it’s cheap compared to the amount you would need to spend on a physical premises were you going into brick-and-mortar retail. A good website should be wieldy, should display products in detail, and have adequate customer help services. None of that will break the bank.
Source The Right Products
What should you sell? You might have a good idea of that already, but it is, nevertheless, worth pointing out that some products simply do better in physical stores and others do better online. Take inexpensive wholesale sunglasses for example; bulk orders of these, offered by companies like Olympic Eyewear, are better provided by e-commerce as this is the best way to get an overview of the whole set and to purchase many. Individual sales of those same sunglasses, however, is better conducted in person, as they are impulse buy products that customers might want to try before purchasing. This example alone illustrates well the different strengths of online vs physical. You should play to your strengths and stock the right products.
Build Up Contacts
This advice can have several practical manifestations. Nevertheless, the main point to remember is that it should be extremely easy for visitors to your site to contact you directly. And, through that same process, you should endeavor to build up an e-mail list of useful contacts. These customers have no physical store to visit should they wish to speak to you, so this tactic is vital for e-commerce.
Beyond these essentials though success with an online start-up will depend very much on what you are selling, how you are selling, and where you are selling. In other words, it will depend on each individual business. Nonetheless, you can at least avoid the obvious mistakes.