The need for online presence in any sort of online earning and business is acknowledged in the current crisis. Especially small businesses are encouraged to develop their online infrastructure for better survival. Companies like Facebook come to support the business community in these crises. Mark Zuckerberg revealed Facebook shops, a wonderful idea to support small business owners.
Every business owner needs to understand a few important points at the initial stage. Let us brief you on the logic behind the online business. We will also discuss the pros and cons of online business in this article so be with us for a few minutes. This will help you to establish your long term successful online business presence.
Difference between Freelancing and Online Business
Many people don’t understand the difference between online business and freelancing. Both are entirely different things. Freelancing is a kind of self-employment. You work with clients directly by using third party platforms. You are bound to follow the certain TOCs that agreed among all stakeholders. i.e Payment method, delivery schedules. You have to communicate with clients through a third party system as well. Any breach of contract can cause permanent cancellation of your account. You can even lose your hard-earned money as well.
There are many such platforms where thousands of freelancers are working already. They earn a good amount of money by selling their service against different requirements.
Some of the famous freelance platforms are:
Some frauds/scams have been faced by the clients or sellers while working on these platforms. Freelancing is not a life long opportunity to earn money online. It can be considered part-time or second source of income stream but to fully rely on it would be very risky. Moreover, the freelance market is becoming saturated day by day. Many companies have already started outsourcing digital services in the freelance market. An influx of freelancers has created a very tough competition among them. They are not only facing extra hustle to get the orders but also facing tough price competition as well.
Why is the online business presence important?
This is a widely discussed topic on the internet already. People are encouraged to buy different products online by many sellers. From necessities to luxuries, online buying is helpful to maintain social distancing. Consumer buying trends are shifting towards online purchases. Companies availed the greatest benefits out of this crisis with an online presence. Many have missed this opportunity those were lacking behind. Another important factor is the product type. Certain products were not in demand in the days of the crisis. Those products couldn’t make any difference in sales for their companies. It helped them to take prompt actions to enhance their product categories. Their proactive approaches supported them to grasp future business opportunities. They launched the need-based products out of their available resources and capabilities. Strategy to sell the right products at the right time helped them to increase their sales.
How to start an online business
Understand the needs and demands of your products
For example, you have your pharmacy, general store, or selling bakery items. You might not be losing your sales revenue even in the crisis time due to your product category. You are selling high in-demand items for which supply will remain consistent. You might be losing a good amount of sales for not having an online presence. Your competitors may be earning more with their online selling platforms. Customers always want convenience and fast response with better quality products. You would be able to earn more by meeting customer’s needs in all sorts of situations.
An online presence can help you to target the right customers even if you are selling luxury or beauty items. You will keep your brand image alive as well as remain in touch with your loyal customers.
Evaluate your market and it’s potential
You can not sell your product even online if you are not targeting the right customers. For example, you are selling frozen food items and try to sell them at different locations in your city. Your competitors have already established their presence there. You first need to evaluate the type of products being sold in that market and with what price and level of quality. Of course you need to enhance your level at less price if you want to beat them. Brand loyalties of the people would be challenging for yourself.
My advice is to start with an online presence first. Investment in the traditional market should be the second priority. Target the right audience through Facebook ads. If you don’t see the desire results then your presence in that market would be difficult. If you can generate a good amount of revenue then move forward to scale up your business.
Understand the customer psyche
In the online business world, the customer always expects…
- Quick response
- Better quality products
- Fastest delivery
- Easy payment options
You would be successful in a shorter time if you keep following the above parameters. Always remember, one bad customer review can cost you losing many loyal customers.
Buying power for your products categories
Always keep an eye on the buying power of your targeted customers. Try to keep the same or less price from what your competitors are using in your targeted market. If you are a pioneer in your product category then focus on developing your customers first. Remember sooner or later anyone can jump into the same category as soon as they find it higher in selling online. Moreover, respect the income of your target audience. Their loyalty to your brand would depend on their affordability.
Investment cost analysis and understand the best suitable online platform for your business
For your online business, you always have to rely on a third party. For example, you might have to start with Facebook pages or accounts on Instagram. You can sell food-related products on Foodpanda. If you are a graphic designer or photographer then you can sell your work on Shutterstock or Istock. You can develop your e-commerce website. You need to buy templates, hosting services, and plugins. You can also make a blog on BlogSpot/WordPress etc to promote your products and services online. If you can start a business with Amazon or dropshipping through Shopify. Every platform has a certain initial investment cost. It depends on your budget and business needs. In any case, you are dependent on third parties which can cancel your account at any stage of the process.
Whatever you decide, do proper research first. Also get expert advice before finalizing anything.
Split the business into sections, traditional and online
Total dependency on the online platform is not good due to any of the below-mentioned problems.
- Internet connectivity issue
- Website or pages technical issue
- Laptop/machines out of order situation
- Issues at third party service provider or courier/supply chain companies
- Account cancellation by your third-party service provider.
To keep your business dealing and sales smoothly. Keep both sections of your business alive. It will always give you better results even in tough situations.
Scale-up the business gradually and add up products of different types
In online business, you will see the opportunity to target a larger audience at once. But you should not be greedy in the beginning. You should always start with a specific and limited part of your targeted audience. Do some trials again and again with different demographics, interests, and behaviors. These trials will help you to analyze your true audience in a shorter time. You can start scaling up your business after proper research and analysis.
The same method should apply to add new products. Always launch new products with proper RND before adding them to your existing range. Keep an eye on trending products in your niche market before launching it.
Always think for long term business
The traditional business method can be enough for you to earn a good amount of money but If your competitors are selling the same products online then you will be losing the share of your sales.
We always suggest keeping the portions of your business in both splits. Online businesses mainly rely upon…
- Supply chain methods
- Product appearance from image to physical
- Reviews and ratings
- Customers support, returns and claims policies, etc.
You must not be lacking in any of the above-mentioned criteria. Otherwise you may end up losing your online business share. Your competitors would easily take advantage of this situation. You should also have good knowledge of online business strategies, tools, and procedures. You can outsource the products or services. Having basic knowledge can help you to better negotiate with developers, designers, or digital service providers. You can save your money by learning the required skills on your own.
You can hire the best virtual assistant or graphic designer through Fiverr.
You can also learn skills through Udemy online courses.
We wish you the best of luck for your online business ventures!