Today we are in a connected world and so far, if growing technology is any indication of change, the internet is only going to continue to advance. The world wide web, as well as smartphones, have changed the way online businesses operate. To set up a successful online business it’s going to take a lot of work, but implementing the correct steps can really help a business blow up. Here are several ways to learn how to run a successful online business. Learn more on how to make an online business succeed by joining us during our next free webinar training.
Know Your Competition
To help a business succeed, it’s essential to understand everything there is to know about your competition. Entrepreneur suggests studying everything from figuring out which social media channels your competition uses to what doesn’t seem to be working well for them.
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.
Build Your Email List
Forbes recommends working on building an excellent email list. Having subscribers is essential when it’s time to advertise your products or pull them in with compelling blog posts, for example. Constantly focus on building your email list to make it easier for a business to take off.
Email marketing is an important strategy for all businesses. But for online businesses, it's absolutely vital. Research is clear that email marketing results in increased click-through rates, engagement, and sales. In fact, some research suggests email delivers a higher ROI than any other marketing channel. Focus on building your list from day one to see these benefits for your own business.
Serve Your Customers
Are you serving your customers? Sometimes you can get so busy that you lose sight of the bigger picture, such as making your customers the key focus. As Small Business suggests, you need to figure out what customers love, dislike, and what some of their other needs are. Stay in tune with your customers to continue to enhance your products.
“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” is a famous quote from the legendary Zig Ziglar (1926-2012) and it’s more than just a quick phrase to throw around at cocktail parties. Teaching and coaching are known as “giving” professions, but in the 21st century, more businesses will have to adapt their techniques in order to earn customer trust and ultimately sales.
Learn how to identify your target market’s problems, concerns and issues to better create and position your offerings as the best solution in the marketplace. The better you can relate and speak to them with effective copywriting the more they'll realize you truly are the solution to their problems.
“How much money can I make for myself?” Answer: As cliche as this may sound, don't even think about the money. As a business person, real money always follows from demonstrating the benefits of your services and products to the ideal customer.
Protect Your Online Reputation
Having a positive online reputation is vital in the online world, which is why Entrepreneur reminds business owners how important it is to protect that reputation. Setting up social media guidelines and how to handle customer complaints are just two ways to carefully manage an 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.
Be Mindful of How You Use Your Time
It’s easy to waste time away on non-essential tasks and by the end of the day you look at your watch and realize you haven’t gotten half of the essential tasks done. To stay productive make a schedule and be mindful of your time, as Suitcase Entrepreneur recommends.
When I ask people what their perfect day looks like, 99% of them say they have never thought about it.
I am really surprised by their response (even though I shouldn’t be anymore) because they have amazing dreams and all these things they want to achieve, but they have never taken the time to develop a clear vision for what a perfect day in their life looks like.
Worst of all, it’s not their fault.
The fact is, no one really teaches you to take time to come up with a vision for your perfect day because no-one truly realizes its importance. The point of envisioning your perfect day is to get crystal clear on how you want to spend your time each day.
And once you do that you’ll be amazed at how your vision starts to turn into reality. What you focus your thoughts on starts to actually come true.
You are what you think. So spend time thinking about who you want to become and what life you wish to have and it WILL start to happen.
But if you don’t know what your ideal day looks like, how would you know what to do today to get just one step closer to living that perfect day?
This becomes especially important when you are building a business and setting yourself up for a life of freedom. You want to envision your ideal lifestyle by taking into account the role business will play in it. Things like:
How much time do you want to spend on your business each day?
Will it be a business that you love, and can’t wait to dive into when you get up in the morning?
Will it be business that you are able to leave running like an automatic Rolex and fine tune it only when needed?
Writing out your perfect day is quite simple and actually a lot of fun.
Small Business reminds online business owners to be themselves because it’s easy to lose sight of things as business takes off.
Your business is an extension of you, no matter how big or small it is at the present time. It will succeed or fail by how others perceive your brand, and ultimately how they feel about doing business with you. All aspects of your business (customer service, product creation, back office) should respect your values.
The old adage that people like to do business with people they “know, like, and trust” is even truer today. Even with the largest companies, people want to see the CEO come out to represent the company and speak on behalf of it.
Authenticity is the key. You’ve got to be you, whether it’s the smooth, sophisticated type or the person with rough edges and an attitude to match. Only you know what works for you and your target audience, but the one thing that can guarantee failure is not being authentic.
If you're not comfortable being the representative of your business you'll still want to create some type of persona to represent your company and brand and humanize your business as much as possible.
Entrepreneur says to be patient, yet persistent. Setting up an online business takes time, but that doesn’t mean it won’t pay off.
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?
Similarly, Forbes says it takes a lot of work to get a business going, which is why you shouldn’t take setting up a business lightly.
Some people think they can build an online empire in their spare time. They put most of their time and effort into their 9-5 job, then fiddle with their business when they feel like it. Successful online businesses are rarely built this way. If you treat it like a hobby, it will stay a hobby. Give your online business the attention it deserves and treats it like the real business it is.
Ryan French, Creator of GameKlip has great advice for new business owners: don't wait until everything's perfect to get moving. He writes, “Don’t feel like you need to know everything, or that everything has to be perfect before you start. I knew nothing about running a business, had no idea how to have something manufactured, and had no idea how to ship a package overseas. I’ve now shipped thousands of units to over 80 countries worldwide. It won’t be easy, there’ll be many points where you feel like giving up, but it’s worth it.”
If you’ve been thinking about starting your own online business and would like to learn more about how to leverage your skills to make money, join us for our next free webinar training.