With the promises of getting rich in 60 day opportunities and many people disappointed as having lost money investing in online businesses, it’s understandable that the term “online business” gets a bad rap. However, there are many owners who are “real” entrepreneurs not delving out false hopes of financial grandeur.
In today’s post, we’re going to tackle this topic and share our best practices for how we run our online business. The first thing that we did was determine to treat our business seriously and not as a hobby. It’s difficult when you work from home and not in an office building but a few things helped us:
- Designate a room specifically for an office. Keep the office work in this space and not in other parts of the house. We also recommend having a door to close if possible so at the end of the work day, you can close the door and not see paperwork until the next business day.
- Work specific hours everyday. Even though we don’t work the traditional 9 to 5, we do put in full time hours.
- Dress for work. My wife and I don’t work in our night clothes. We actually dress as if we’re going to an office. This helps us both to be productive.
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If you really want to make it in this industry, it means putting in the work hours, staying consistent and being patient. The reality is no online business opportunity can guarantee you anything. Even if you work long hours everyday, it still takes time. To succeed as a business owner, it will mean you must believe in what you’re doing and even if you don’t have all the support from friends or family. Believe me, we’ve been there. It’s been me and my wife alone most of the time we’ve been self-employed. Nevertheless, we kept plugging away and it’s why we’re still business owners today.
The 3 C’s of Success
- Consistency. Brand yourself and stay on point with your offerings. Sometimes, it takes awhile for a prospective customer to buy from you but if they constantly see your promotions, they’re more likely to be curious enough to check out your business. Stay consistent with your marketing strategies on social, your blog and website and also through your email marketing.
- Customers. Know who your customers are and what struggles they’re having. Your products and services should meet their needs and solve their challenges.
- Communication. Good communication goes a long way to repeat and loyal customer loyalty. And all of this can be done with automation but it needs to be set up so that the customer is in the loop in the pre-sales, through the entire sales process. Sending a follow-up communication such as a customer review is a great way to learn how your business performed and also to identify any areas for improvement.
Study your Stats
Also, it’s important to assess your business and how successful it is with regards to:
- Online Sales. This goes without saying. Yet, some business owners don’t really know if they’re showing a profit or breaking even. Take the time to study your weekly and monthly sales reports. Identify any products or services that are doing well and continue perfect them. At the same time, assess any and all products / services that are not selling. Either remove them or revise them, basically you should be spending your time on the products and services that are showing profits.
- Website traffic. Are you targeting the right audience? It’s important that you go after the customer base that will benefit by what you’re offering them. There are many apps that will calculate your web traffic for you especially if you’re using WordPress. However, even if you’re not, installing Google Analytics on your website is the way to go. You can print reports and break down where your visitors are coming from, what browser they’re using, if they’re on mobile or a desktop, and also other information like country, pages they landed on, time on your site, etc.,
- Engagement. Is your business running a blog? If not, why not? It’s a great way to communicate with your clients and prospects that might be interested in purchasing from you. And if you are running a blog, how often are you posting new content? Do you answer comments and questions quickly when they come in? Statistics show that more people are contacting brands through a blog, website or social media. It’s important that to publish original and good content frequently. For more tips on running a blog, check out our article here.
- Social Media. Do you have a social media strategic plan? How often are you creating content and publishing? Social is increasing everyday and customers are even purchasing without ever reaching the business’ website. It’s extremely important that you take advantage of this as there’s an entire demographic of people who use social 90% of the time.
- eMail Marketing. Growing an email list is still very vital to business success. This list can include customers as well as anyone who has signed up for your newsletter or blog but obviously they are interested in your products and services. Also, you’re being looked at as an expert in your field so it’s important to stay in touch with your mail list providing free tips, advice and also promoting any new products or services. For example, you can run a contest, giveaway just for signing up.
- Direct Sales. This can come from person to person meetings, tradeshows, demonstrations or at contract signings. Documentation on paper is essential to keep track of all sales that come through payment forms other than online as in checks, money orders or cash. Keep all receipts and organize them into categories so as to properly report on your taxes.
- Review your Business Plan. Assessing the state of your business is key to success and especially if you plan to approach a financial advisor. They will ask this. The best way to look over your goals is frequently review your business plan. If you update this as things in your business changes, then you can easily see the progress you’re making. You’ll be able to identify the areas that need more work and you’ll also be able to check off any goals met and add more. I also recommend writing up an annual Best Practices report listing any and all decisions made from the year that may not have worked as intended and what lessons were learned in the process.
With a hobby, you’re not concerned so much about these factors but if you need to or want to make a living doing what you’re doing, then that’s when it’s a business that requires looking at differently.
Check out our other articles below for more help!
- Writing an Effective Business Plan
- Common Mistakes to Avoid when Starting a Business
- Should you Choose Self-Employment Instead of a Boss?
Also, check out the eBook: “Internet Business Startup Kit” from our Products Catalog!
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