We are in a connected world today. The internet, along with smart phones, has changed the way business is done.There is a proven sequence of steps you can follow to guarantee your success when you’re starting a small business online. I’ve seen thousands of people start and grow successful businesses by doing the following:
Here are some ways to run a successful online business.
- Find a need and fill it.
- Write copy that sells.
- Design and build an easy-to-use website.
- Use search engines to drive traffic to your site.
- Establish an expert reputation for yourself.
- Follow up with your customers and subscribers with email.
- Increase your income through back-end sales and upselling.
Organize Your Web Assets
This extends much further than just organizing your business. Your web assets are everything from your website to your social media profiles to your hosting account. These need to be in order.
All relevant assets should be optimized for your brand. For example, your social media and webpages should have the relevant keywords. They should fall into an integrated marketing plan. And they should be completely updated with the latest information about your company.
Maintain Customer Records Safely
One problem business owners have is that they need to be able to keep records safely. You have a legal obligation to protect any customer information obtained online. For example, you should store information on separate devices and have a number of secure backups.
Your systems must be kept updated and controls should be implemented and access should be restricted only to specific employees.
You should have a system in place to destroy things like credit card details securely when they’re no longer needed.
Do you know your competition?
Any good business will know its competition. You need to know who you’re competing against so that you know why customers choose you over others, or vice versa. Nowhere is this more important than in the online world.
You should be aware of social media channels your competition is using. And you should inspect keyword usage from all your competitors using the variety of tools Google provides.
Protect Your Brand’s Online Reputation
Online business is all about reputation. The slightest mistake can taint your brand forever. The key is control. Setup a Google Alerts notification for your brand. That way, you’ll be able to inspect any mention of your brand.
Have a firm set of branding and social media guidelines, so anyone posting on behalf of your brand is aware of what you expect from them. Learn to deal with customer complaints and adopt a mindset of solving problems; even if the customer is wrong.
Invest on a good internet connection
If you are online, you need a good internet connection. Sometimes, I’ve sacrificed on a good internet connection, only to realize I couldn’t act fast on important orders. Without a fast internet connection, you could miss out on orders and customer questions. In short, your business could be paralyzed.
Stay On Top of the Latest Trends
The online world is one that is constantly changing and evolving. It evolves faster than anything you’ll see in the real world. Furthermore, you’ll see social media trends evolving all the time.
You need to be on top of this so you can be on the cutting edge of online marketing and branding.
Few businesses become overnight success stories. This is something you’ll have to accept if you want to enter the business world. Persistence will pay off in the end if you continue to do all the right things. You need to be consistent and stay focused on your goals.
Did you know most startups take three to five years before they start turning in a profit?
Know When to Call It Quits
Sometimes an idea will fail. The biggest challenge for an entrepreneur is to know when an idea has failed. It’s no point trying to revive a dead duck. So don’t be scared to change course if necessary.
Running a business is inherently risky. Taking the time to learn and evolve is one of the best investments you can make to mitigate these risks.The internet changes so fast that one year online equals about five years in the real world. But the principles of how to start and grow a successful online business haven’t changed at all. If you’re just starting a small business online, stick to this sequence. If you’ve been online awhile, do a quick review and see if there’s a step you’re neglecting, or never got around to doing in the first place. You can’t go wrong with the basics.