Small businesses are thriving online these days and even larger, traditional businesses are turning to the internet to grow their business by expanding in to the vast potential of the online market. The business landscape has changed in recent years and now, if you’re not online in one form or another, chances there’s a potential market that you’ve yet to explore and your competitors could be gaining a valuable vantage point. Nevertheless, just setting up a small business and hoping to make it big via the internet is a risky strategy. If you are serious about establishing your small business online, the following tips should give you all the tools you need to be successful. The rest is down to your hard work and maybe a slice of luck here and there.
A Spark of Genius
All businesses sell something, whether that something is tangible or intangible. Before establishing your business online, you need a killer idea and, vitally, some evidence that it will work and evolve in to success, however this is measured.
There are all kinds of small businesses online, many of which wouldn’t work in a traditional setting. You have business people who have made fortunes from selling ‘secrets’. Secrets to wealth, secrets to weight-loss and ironically, secrets to making money online. Then, of course you have more traditional businesses selling products or services. Whatever your business idea, it has as good a chance of being successful online as anywhere else. Getting your Foot in the Door If you are going to establish your small business online then you are going to need a website. This doesn’t have to be your own website if you don’t want to initially commit to one financially, it can be anyone’s, even a forum or a classifieds site. At the end of the day running a business online without a website of any form is like selling milk in the middle of the sea, it’s just not going to happen.
Ideally, you will need your own website and if you want potential customers to trust you, then design and functionality is going to be key. Unless you are a wiz with HTML or PHP, it is better to invest in a designer to create your site. Poorly made, unprofessional sites are a proven turn-off to customers, especially if you take payments online so investing in a quality website will certainly pay for itself.
Marketing is Key
Few businesses can get by nowadays without marketing whether they are traditional or internet based and more and more people are realising that this is so much more than a buzz phrase. Many business owners let marketing fall by the wayside and fail to realise its importance however what they overlook can become their competitors’ advantage. Marketing can help a business to grow rapidly so you must develop a marketing strategy if you are to successfully establish your small business online. Thankfully, the internet makes marketing a little simpler if you put the hours in. Social Media Marketing is the new trend in small business promotion and can be a quick, effective and potent means of establishing yourself online. Get yourself Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus accounts and get networking with potential customers. Twitter is proven to be a valuable means of connecting with potential business partners and customers alike making it particularly good for B2B networking. Whichever method you choose, make sure you are honest and down-to-earth.
Other marketing methods include becoming a member of established forums promoting yourself as an source of authority on an aspect of your business. You may even think about affiliate marketing as a means of driving revenue where you pay affiliates a percentage of each sale that they refer to you which can be an extremely effective means of generating traffic for fledgling online businesses.
Reviews and Testimonials
The Internet is home to a host of fantastic tools to customers to rate and review online businesses that they have dealt with. Reviews on the internet can potentially make or break a businesses which means that with just one outstanding piece of customer service could result in wonders for your online reputation. It’s verging on stating the obvious to state that all successful businesses require hard work on the part of the owner. However it is rarely a case of the field of dreams mentality of “build it and they will come” paying off, especially in the über competitive world of online sales but hopefully these little tips and tricks should provide a decent foundations for any budding SME to successfully establish their business online.
Hi I’m Ed, and I work in the exciting, fast paced and ever-changing world of a B2B services. I’ll be trying my best to keep you abreast give you a wide smorgasbord of handy hints, tips and advice to get the squeeze the best out of your business.