The growth of the internet has changed our society in many ways. The way we communicate, look for entertainment and even shop is unrecognizable to what we did 20 years ago. The growth of the internet has also changed the business world and many entrepreneurs are finding that launching an online business is the ideal way to follow their dream of becoming self-employed.
Back at the beginning of this century the burst of the dot com bubble made many entrepreneurs uneasy about launching online businesses, but for the past decade the expansion of the internet into our daily lives has meant that there are now many successful multi-million pound online businesses.
Advantages of online business
The main appeal of launching an online business is that it needs a lot less funding than traditional start-ups. Many online businesses just need a good internet connection, a computer and a website to launch. They also usually have less overheads and general operating costs than offline businesses. Another major appeal of launching an online business is that it can often be run alongside doing a day job, meaning that entrepreneurs don’t have to risk giving up their jobs in order to launch their business.
Setting up an online business
If you’re planning to launch an online business you need a good website. Buying a domain name and designing a basic website usually doesn’t cost a lot of money and is relatively easy to do. Once you’ve secured your domain name, which of course needs to be the same or very similar to your company name, you should spend a lot of time in ensuring that the design of the website conveys your company’s image and products or services.
Think of your website as the virtual equivalent to a shop – it is where potential customers enter and browse through to see what’s on offer and if they like and trust the brand, they will become your customers. When you’ve launched your website you’ve got to invest some time into search engine optimization and advertising, after all there is no point in creating a fantastic website if no one is going to see it.
One of the best methods of advertising your website is through the Google Adwords program but the costs will depend on the competition to your business. Also take into account your online presence through social media and ensure that you regularly promote your business and interact with customers on relevant social network sites.
Growing Your Business
When you’re business is up and running you need to grow your customer base. As already stated this can be done through SEO and social media, however with most businesses you are also going to have to go the traditional route of networking in person with potential customers and clients.
Attend conferences and networking events and arrange to meet your most important clients in person, as no matter how much of our world goes online many people still prefer face-to-face interactions when doing business. Distance also makes little difference now as all manner of meetings can be achieved using voip services such as Skype.