People who ditch their 9 to 5 to create an online business do so with the best intentions but, just like regular brick and mortar businesses, it doesn’t always work out. Building a successful online business is difficult and it takes a lot of work and specialized knowledge in the fields of marketing and technology. Interested to hear more about how you increase the likelihood that your online business will succeed and not be another flash in the pan? The following are some important things to keep in mind.
Get an Education
We’re not talking about choosing a random course just so you can graduate with a master’s degree. We’re talking about getting an education in your chosen field. Yes, it might seem counterproductive when you’re trying to get monies together to start a business but why not hold off for a while and give yourself the best chance at success by ensuring you have the tools in your toolkit to achieve your goals? You can finance college with a student loan from a private lender so you don’t have to worry right now. Making the repayments will be easy when you have the essential building blocks to create a successful online business.
Know Your Competition
All successful companies know their competitors inside out. They know where they advertise, whom they partner with, and what they’re spending their time focusing on. Knowing who you’re up against is vital if you want to succeed. Find out if they’re doing SEO, see what social media platforms they’re using most, and do some research to find out where they are positioned organically in the search results.
Find Out If They’re Doing SEO
Search engine optimization is necessary for a large portion of businesses that operate online. It’s all about optimizing your website for specific keywords so that it will show up number one in the search results when a potential customer searches for those keywords. If your top competitor is doing SEO, chances are it’s bringing them some ROI so it’s worth looking into for your own business. There are tools out there that will tell you what keywords they’re targeting, what backlinks they’ve got, and what kind of descriptions they have filled out in their on-page meta titles. You simply need to see what they’re doing and do it better. If you don’t know much about SEO, it’s worth hiring a specialist to help you formulate a strategy that will make your website more visible in search results.
Sales are the lifeblood of any business. Without them, you’ll fail. Sounds pretty obvious but the number of business owners who overlook the importance of lead generation would shock you. Whether it’s a landing page that’s designed to convert browsers into customers or a marketing campaign that focuses on Google AdWords, you need to have a couple of lead generation streams working for you at all times.
Keep Customer Info Secure
One of the biggest obstacles to overcome when operating online is maintaining customer records safely. Firstly, you legally have to protect all customer data that you obtain online. There should be a number of secure backups and access should be restricted. If you accept online payments, you need to have a system in place that will destroy all credit card details after a specific length of time. Software systems like these can be very expensive so these are all things you should think about before starting out.
You don’t have a store that customers can call to physically for a chat. You’re not meeting customers in-person to ask them for feedback on your product and customer service. Every interaction you have with your audience is online and it can be very difficult to maintain a positive reputation if things do start to go wrong. In fact, the slightest taint on your brand can literally mean the difference between success and failure. Think about that for a second and think about what you’re doing to protect your reputation. If the answer is nothing, it’s time to create a set of branding guidelines that you can implement across all online platforms. Invest in reputation management that will improve your customer service and start to take complaints seriously. All of this will help to protect your reputation from becoming the downfall of your business.
Invest in the Best Internet Connection
You are operating online so you need to have a strong, reliable internet connection at all times. If this means paying more than you are currently paying for a business plan, so be it. Even a small lag in connection could lose you hundreds of dollars in sales. Ask other business owners in your local area who their provider is and check to see what kinds of speeds they are getting.
Keep on Top of Trends
The online world is changing at a rapid pace with each passing hour. From new marketing trends and innovative ways to use social media to updated Google algorithms, it can seem impossible to keep on top of everything. That said, keeping up is essential if you want to stay current and be successful. Follow industry leaders to see what updates they’re talking about. Check out the big players in your niche to see what they’re talking about. If there’s a particular area you’re lacking knowledge or interest in, why not outsource it to a professional? Doing so will give you more time to focus on other elements of your business and the person you hire will do a much better job than you’d ever do.
Creating an online business can be challenging, especially if you’re starting out on your own. Just remember that very few successful businesses became successful overnight. In fact, the statistics say that it can take 3-6 years for a company to start making a profit. Getting to the top takes time and effort. It takes dedication, persistence, and motivation to keep going, even when times are hard. All your hard work will pay off if you continue to follow the plan and stay focused on your goals.
About the Author
Jenna Christine is a corporate relations specialist with over ten years of experience in employee relations and brand development roles. She is a dedicated volunteer within the disability advocacy space and loves to bake and run marathons.