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 by connecting Paypal to Shopify, 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. And with Shopify apps you can boost your store and sell more. With best review apps for Shopify you may automate the procedure for gathering reviews of your store.
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 are tons of workflow software 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
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By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make
Are you completely new to networking?
Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.
It’s incredibly common for nerves to creep in and to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive when it comes to networking – even when it isn’t new to you. But how can you become more successful at it, feel less self-conscious, and make networking work for you and your business?
Here’s a few tips to help you embrace every business networking opportunity you get, so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.
Rock up with confidence
If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.
Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!
Where to go networking
If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.
For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!
If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.
Get more leads and referrals
This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.
Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.
When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!
Grow your business
By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make, and you will be able to grow your business.
We know that it’s not easy, going networking for the very first time. And that’s why we want to give you all the advice and tools that you need so you can walk in with confidence and make the most of the opportunity.
2023 is just around the corner, and you have the chance to make it the year you make networking work for your business. And the benefits could be incredibly amazing for your business, just like they have been for ours, and many business owners we have worked with over the years.
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