How to Start, Run and Grow an Online Business
Running a company is a tough journey, but you may have already figured that out. As long as you’re putting your efforts and investment into the correct areas, you’ll be able to grow successfully and as seamlessly as possible. The following are some key areas that you will need to consider when your online business is taking the next step.
Your Relationships And Network
Although you won’t want to be best friends with a direct competitor; now is the time to strengthen your relationships with related businesses and brands. Bringing affiliate brands on board will allow them to bring their customers and audience your way. Yes, you’ll be putting work into promoting and helping their company. However, the payoff and long-term success for the both of you can be extremely lucrative. Other businesses will be in your position, and on the cusp of major growth, so you can both help each other reach your goals.
Deals or discounts are a great way to generate demand. Many of your visitors may be on the fence about buying your product. They’re interested, but for some reason, they are hesitant to pull the trigger and make the purchase. A deal is often the perfect sales tactic to get these visitors to convert. Whenever we run deals, we usually get a big increase in sales.
Networking events and trade fairs are a great place to start, and the perfect way to start business alliances. Try to arrive as positive as possible, and be friendly to those you meet; word of mouth counts for a great deal in the business world, so a good first impression could go a long way. Make sure you’ve got your contact details and business cards at the ready, and be prepared to set up as many meetings, informal chats, or even pitches, as possible in the following weeks; you never know where they might lead.
Your Environment And Workspace
The beauty of owning an online business is that you can run your company from any location, and won’t have the costly overheads that often come with the expansion of physical stores. However, expansion often comes with new employees, equipment, and the need for extra space.
Therefore it’s a smart choice to consider looking into an appropriately sized property to lease, that will be able to house your business over the next year or so comfortably. Who knows, you might need to have quadrupled the size of your office in 5 years time, but, for now, plan wisely for the initial expansion phase.
Bear in mind all the things you’ll need in your office; any extra desks, for your team, you might need, and perhaps a reception area, meeting room, and a personal office for yourself. Renting a shipping container or a conex box is the ideal way to store all your new office furniture, equipment, and even decorative items, before you’re ready to move into the space.
USA Today points out that having a storage space will also allow you to collate and invest in items over the interem period; another great way t save cash and avoid paying out large lump sums. You’ll want everything and everyone under one roof as things get busy, and won’t want to have to travel elsewhere for meetings; unless it’s required by another company. Having the bulk of your staff and tech in one place will make it straightforward to get all hands on deck when needed.
Invest in SEO
Over the years SEO has become boring as a marketing strategy. These days internet marketers prefer to talk about social media—it’s more sexy. However, we’ve found SEO to be the most powerful marketing strategy for our business.
Google is still the most popular website in the world. The upside of getting a top ranking for many different keywords is massive. We invest in SEO now, and from the very beginning of our business, and we’ve seen traffic growth every year as a result. In fact, based on our customer surveys, the vast majority of our early revenue came from SEO traffic until word-of-mouth gained momentum.
There’s a lot you can learn about SEO, but we like keeping it simple on our end. We focus on link building and keyword research because those tasks seem to have the best ROI. There’s more to search engine optimization than that, so in addition to our own modest efforts we rely on an affordable SEO business to do more of the heavy lifting.
Your Data And Investments
Your information and data are crucial elements to the continuation of your business growth. Therefore, it’s essential that you ensure you have thoroughly thought out how and where it is stored. For a company that is continuing to grow, looking into cloud services is a smart choice; it will give you the flexibility to expand in the knowledge that your information is secure. Also, if you want to outsource any of your work and services from across the country, or from overseas, your employees will be able to gain access to what they need, wherever they are.
You might want to update the infrastructure of your company’s software and security too; as you become a larger business, your processes and the way things are run will ultimately change. Therefore it’s worth investing in the right companies to help you put things in place, that will allow you to expand with ease and without any costly delays.
As you bring in new members of the team, you’ll be able to train them in all of the new processes; instead of making them learn one way, only to be retrained a few months down the line. Invest early, to save money in the long run.
Your Stock And Services
Expansion not only allows you to increase the flow of stock or services you provide; but also gives you the chance to diversify your stock and what you do, as highlighted in this Entrepreneur article. Offering your customers related products and complementary services will only encourage them to visit you more often, and it makes sense to be known for a particular area of retail, over one specific product.
You can check out what the best E-commerce sites are doing online and get some inspiration for your business. As the CEO of your company; you’re also qualified to offer advice and seminars to fledgling businesses.
While expanding your business, make sure you don’t get too big too fast. If you do, service will suffer. And along with poor service comes a poor online reputation. Dissatisfied customers are quick to publicly give a business a bad review online and if that happens, your business suffers. If you notice your online reputation is less than stellar, get a jump on a fix right away. Find an affordable online reputation management (ORM) business to clean up your Google search results.
Sometimes the best strategy is the simplest one. We’ve really focused on creating new courses in the last three years, and we’ve seen a big increase in profits because of our efforts.
Having new products gives your customers a reason to come back to your site, and it gives your biggest fans another way to support your business. Once we started releasing new courses, we immediately saw sales from customers who had bought our very first course.
Offering your teaching services will get you out into the relevant business areas, and will allow you to meet brands which you could potentially work with in the future; it’s also a great way to market who you are and what you do. Rolling out new lines and services is also a great way to boost traffic to your social media and website, which will ensure a steady boost in sales; which is just what you’ll need during expansion.
Be brave with your choices and try new things, as long as you’re prepared to dismiss items that don’t work for you quickly; you’ll be able to profit from those things that seem to take off, as you’re offering something different. Always keep your brand’s identity in mind, and your product choices will make sense to your audience.