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4 Ways to Successfully Build and Run an Online Business

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how to build an online business
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Starting a business online is the go-to model for entrepreneurs, startups, and more established businesses. There is a myriad of benefits to running a business online; you’re not restricted to hiring locally, you can keep your overhead low, and the flexibility that an online business offers is extremely attractive to today’s top talent.

Running an online business is amazing. But how, exactly, do you do it successfully? Let’s take a look at how to run an online business below:

1. Build the right team

The key to running a successful online business? The right team. Hiring the right people to work for your online business can mean the difference between your business taking off or it crashing and burning.

Business2Community says, “Getting to understand your potential team is essential in all hiring situations, but even more so for virtual workers. You aren’t going to get to know them at the water cooler or on a lunch break, so that element of familiarity will be gone. This distance can lead to some difficulty in accurately assessing character.”

Not everyone thrives in an online environment, so it’s important to find people who can work independently, hit deadlines, and can be trusted to get things done without you looking over their shoulder.

If you want to make sure you’re hiring the right people, ask them to work with you on a project basis before you bring them on; that way, you can see what it’s like to work with them and if they can handle working 100% online before you put the time, energy, and resources into training them.

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie

2. Outsource whenever possible

One of the major benefits of running an online business is you’re not limited to talent in your local area. You can higher people 10 miles away or 10,000 miles away, which is why outsourcing is so popular with online business owners. By leveraging the differences in the global economy, you can hire top talent at a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay domestically (without having to sacrifice quality).

Outsourcing is a great way to support your business if you have a small or solo team or if you want to keep your overall costs low. Some areas of your business that are a great fit for outsourcing include customer service, virtual assistants, scheduling, lead generation, and technology support.

3. Sell online

If your online business is in product creation, it’s important that you get up to speed on ecommerce – the process of buying and selling online.

Back in the early days of the internet, ecommerce was a challenge. People were afraid to share their personal information, like credit card numbers online. But now, shopping online is second nature to most people. In fact, consumers are now shopping more online than they are in stores, which presents a huge opportunity for online business owners to cash in on the trend.

If you’re a product-based business, you’ll want to build an online store to sell your goods. Shopify, a popular ecommerce platform, is a great option – they make it easy to set up an online store, collect payment information, and ship your products. And the best part? Setting up a Shopify store requires minimal coding skills, which will save you time and money on backend development.

If you do decide to create a custom coded ecommerce shop, just make sure you place a heavy emphasis on security; a data breach could be catastrophic and lose you a large percentage of your customer base.

“Focus on having the maximum impact in every client interaction.”

4. Use technology to connect

There are plenty of benefits to running an online business, but when you’re running a business from your laptop, things can get a little… isolating (both for you and your team). Just because you and your team aren’t in the same physical space doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) feel connected.

There is a ton of tools out there that can work wonders in creating an online working environment where you feel connected to your team. Use a video conferencing tool like Zoom to hold regular team meetings so everyone gets a chance to interact face-to-face.

Schedule trainings over Skype so you can see who you’re working with and use their screen-sharing feature to share your slides or training materials. Use Slack to manage your workflow and make sure everyone on your team is communicating on a regular basis.

There’s a lot that goes into running an online business, but when you know how to build the right team of employees, you will know how to manage that team in a way that creates a communicative and vibrant online work environment. Running an online business is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to build a wildly successful empire.

Are you interested in running an online business? If so, let us know some of your concerns and how we can help you!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Parker Davis is the CEO of Answer 1, a leader in the virtual receptionist and technology enabled answering services industry.  He believes that the application of data analytics, investment in technology, and fostering a positive company culture together create highly efficient and scalable growth companies.  In 2016, Answer 1 will achieve record revenues while also being awarded the Top Companies to Work For in Arizona award. Parker is also the Managing Partner of Annison Capital Partners, LLC, a private investment partnership.

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