Recent events have turned many of us into online shoppers. If you are interested in setting up an online store for products you currently sell, crafts you have made or a service you are excited to offer, your website either needs to be built or updated to handle the pressures of COVID. Image Credit: Pexels.
The sooner you get it up and running, the more market share you can capture. It used to be that starting a business took a building, a cart, or an office. You had to have some type of real estate to launch your product and/or services from.
Current conditions mean that you can start a website from your laptop and build it at your local library. You don't even have to have your own stock to launch a business that sells products. By starting a drop-shipping business, you can build your business in a completely virtual environment.
Focus on Service More than Sales
No matter what business you're building, taking care of customers is the best way to
- have repeat business
- get free marketing from happy customers
- find out what your current customers are looking for so you can expand your product line
Free marketing from a happy customer is one of your best methods of getting more business. Once you've sold something, offer the buyer a discount for something similar and offer them a coupon to share. When that second coupon gets used, you can issue a reward or a bigger discount. In an online business, this means that your customers need to be able to
- search for product logically
- review the blog for examples of your expertise if you are selling a service
- access all of your offerings
To this end, make sure that your website is fully ADA compliant. If you have existing blog posts with images, test out the text included with these images. You can find services that can confirm your ADA compliance. Having a fully accessible site can increase your client base and offer you legal protection.
Start First, Build the Path as You Go
Too often, we think that we have to have everything perfect before we start. One of the keys to starting an online business is to understand that it doesn't have to be perfect to be terrific. No matter how much work you have put into your website, your videos and your product, something is going to fail. How you respond to failure can say a lot to the future success of your business. Acknowledge the problem, fix it as best you can, and understand that there are folks that will never be happy no matter what you do. Tracking the comments made about your business will give you info on tracking the problem and making things right.
Build Stable Security Into Each Step
It only takes one data breach to turn your online business into a proverbial hot stove. No customers will want to touch a company that has had a dangerous security breach, particularly when it comes to client payment accounts. If you don't know how to protect this data and you're not building on another company's platform, hire someone to do it right. If you have to put in more time at your 9 to 5 or ramp up the cash flow in your sticks and bricks facility to pay for great IT, do so.
Track Comments, Fix Mistakes
Monitor the comments made about your business in Google Alerts so you always get a heads up when your business is mentioned. Thank the positive commenters and fix the problems you can. Do take care to know when to block trolls and tell complainers that you can't do anything else. There are folks who will never be happy no matter what you do. However, you can offset these comments by getting plenty of positive reviews, so ask for them.
An online business can be easy to expand but it will take monitoring. As you start to sell your products and services, you will know where to put that income back to work inside the business. If you notice you're functioning as an employee and not as an owner, hire someone.