By Bamidele Abiodun
Many entrepreneurs are cashing in on the opportunities available by doing business online. Many businesses are making the shift to take their entire operations into cyberspace, so deciding whether this is a good fit for you depends on your type of business. A business owner may choose to run only some features of the business online (for example, a catering shop with a website that advertises itself, accepts orders and payments online but handles other aspects of the business in-house). However, in a different scenario, another business owner may decide to operate entirely online (for example, an online shop that sells retail or wholesale products whereby all operations are done on a laptop and inventory is stocked and delivered from home or other designated facility). Again, if the business model permits, an entrepreneur can sell practically anything online, from goods to services.
In this day and age, there are many benefits of operating a business fully online that may seem almost too good to be true, but they are very real; especially when approached with common sense, innovation, and business savvy. Here are just a few:
Lower start-up costs
Of course you’ll need your website, which will include information about your business, products and/or services. If you are running an online shop of some sort, you will have to take things up a notch. The website and/or online shop will need to feature (1) a product list or catalog, (2) a shopping cart or some way to select products or services, (3) a payment tool. Good navigation and functionality are must-haves. In addition to these, you will need to factor in standard costs for your business license and other establishment costs.
Overall, your start-up costs will be lower because you are not paying for a physical space and related costs to run the business. However, just because your costs will be lower doesn’t mean you should cut corners in planning and budgeting for the business.
Websites and profiles on social media help you to promote your business, network, and boost your sales, allowing the Internet’s global hub of commerce to grow day by day. When you post online, you are no longer limited to local markets; you cross borders and gain access to international markets. In addition, as more people around the world gain access to computers and mobile devices, they go online for information, resources, goods, and services. If you have a business and are looking to sell, you want them to find you online.
Environmentally friendly & Efficient
Handling business online helps to save the planet. Take telecommuting for example, if you’re running your business from your kitchen table instead of hopping into your car every day to drive to an office, you are cutting down on gasoline consumption and fume emissions into the atmosphere.
If you are using the Internet and computer software for all of your work, you rarely need paper and related supplies. That means you are saving the trees, which gives us more oxygen to breathe.
All of these factors can classify your establishment as a “Green Business” and socially responsible, which is something that you can promote and let us not forget to mention that all of these save money.
Easy tracking abilities
Your website will have tracking features that make it easy to see how customers found you and what pages they viewed on your site. You can also collect contact information that helps you target new business.
Ability to globe-trot
You can manage your business from anywhere in the world, not only does this afford you personal freedom, but it is also good for business; allowing you to leisurely expand your network face to face as you work and/or during your off hours.