Running an online business can be an incredibly freeing experience. Not only are you not tied down by an office to have to sit in, but all you need to make money and succeed is yourself, your laptop, Wi-Fi, and a power supply. It’s no surprise that 4.8 million people describe themselves as digital nomads – or workers who only need a laptop to work. The power of the internet means that more and more people are eschewing day jobs for hustles they can do online – whether this becomes a fully-fledged business with employees and eventual premises or just enough for a sole trader to live comfortably in their own way. What do you need to consider in order to succeed in your online business?
One of the most important aspects of keeping on top of your online business is managing your ‘digital storefront’ i.e. your presence on social media. With no physical premises or offering, it’s important you showcase your abilities and expertise on social media. This involves regular posting, updates, and conversation online to show that you exist and to remind people of what you do. 66% of people reportedly follow a business or brand on Facebook, while 90% of Instagram users follow one – so having regular updates and an active social media account could lead to more awareness and more business.
Ensuring that you keep an open dialogue with customers and potential customers is important. This extends beyond social media to encompass how you manage your website. Chatbots are increasingly useful to allow customers to ask direct questions to businesses, which can help them decide if they want to use the business. Conversation promotes the building of a relationship, which can be beneficial in the long term to keep your business afloat. 67% of customers claimed to have used a chatbot at some point in the past year. Many of these will have then been influenced to purchase. If a chatbot doesn’t suit your business, having easy methods of communication works just as well, especially as online is your domain.
Sometimes, working solely online can make you forget that you are running a business. You may not pay business rates or have staff, but you are still legally a business entity – and should ensure that you are prepared for all eventualities. Just as a contractor in a manual field such as HVAC would shop for plans that are tailored to their business needs, you should look for a tailored plan that matches what you do. Business insurance is imperative for all businesses so that the small amount per month protects you against any litigation. Having insurance for your business means that you are protected from accidents, disputes, and many things out of your control, which could damage your business and even you personally. Business insurance protects you. It also gives a message to customers and other businesses alike that you are responsible and worth doing business with.
There are endless benefits to running an online business, but if we aren’t on top of things, we can quickly lose out on these. So make sure that your social media accounts are up to date and informative, that it is easy for your customers to get in touch with you, and that your admin is up to date, including the adequate business insurance.