4 Tips for Starting an Online Business
By Dan Radak
According to the latest survey, about 51 percent of the entire population of the U.S. prefers shopping online and has done so in the previous year. Furthermore, about 96 percent of them have made an online purchase at least once in their lifetime. The reason behind this is quite simple - buying online is much more convenient, which is why numerous entrepreneurs opt for building their first company in the digital environment. To them, this brings benefits in terms of avoiding the need for leasing an office, commuting to work and hiring a large workforce. Starting an online business, however, is still far from easy. With this in mind, here are four tips that you may find useful.
1. Choose the right niche
For starters, you need to choose a business niche you are passionate about. Sure, everyone likes making money, but you can't rely on this as your only drive. You see, for an average startup, it takes somewhere between 6 months and 2 years until they are fully profitable, which means that you will have to find something else than money to motivate you. Unfortunately, just going with something you like may not be enough. You need to find something both interesting and profitable, which might not be as difficult as it sounds.
2. Invest in efficiency
Going online gives you a plethora of options on how to handle your business. While this or that idea may sound particularly interesting, your main focus needs to be making things as simple as possible. When choosing reliable IT-cloud offers, you need to look at more than just what the providers have in their offer. In other words, you want someone who is there for you 24/7, someone who respects you and most importantly, someone who doesn't expect you to be an IT expert yourself. Even if you can't afford to pay for this level of premium services, it's probably worth it to look for easy loans, those you can repay in 6 to 18 months, in order to make it.
3. Pay attention to your design
One of the things a lot of new online business owners aren't aware of is the fact that their website design has a direct impact on their conversion rate. Think about it, the average conversion rate online is at about 2.35 percent. The top 25 percent websites have approximately a conversion rate of 5.31 percent, while the top 10 percent have 11.45 on average. As you can see, the discrepancy is quite evident and in most cases, it is affected by the things, such as website's layout, format, CMS or even a thing as trivial as the CTA button color.
4. Learn how to accept criticism
Finally, no matter what the metrics say, customer feedback still remains your number one concern. Unfortunately, seeing how online environment gives everyone a privilege of anonymity, some people won't hold back with their criticism of your company. The way in which you handle it can affect your company more than you know it. Sure, when these people have something constructive to offer, you might consider changing a thing or two, but even when they are just outright mean, it isn't smart to enter into a conflict with your customers. Try to defuse a situation and you might even gain a loyal customer.
As you can see, starting an online business is definitely not an easy task. Nonetheless, being dedicated to what you do, the way in which you handle criticism and even the way your website looks can bring you a competitive edge. As you could see in the section about the design, the differences between pulling this off successfully can be quite drastic. This means that a single right (or wrong) choice can stand in the way of a complete success or trigger an utter failure.