Starting a business can be a daunting task - often made all the more difficult by a small advertising/marketing budget and an insufficient network of contact
3 great reasons to start an online business today
Check out our top 3 reasons why there's never been a better time to set up an online business than right now.
If you've got an idea that you think will succeed but are hesitating because you are worried about failing and losing money, then get ready to be inspired to start today - right now even.
Sure, the economy is not great, but there are signs of growth, and successful people didn't get that way by sitting around waiting for the economy to improve.
And since one of the most important ingredients for succeeding as a small business startup is getting to market early, it makes sense that the sooner you begin, the sooner you can start making sales and profits.
So, if you've been sitting on the fence wondering when to start, the answer is now. And here's why...
1. It's never been easier to create a website
Entrepreneurs and home business owners tend to be frightened of the technical barriers to entry into the online business market.
The fact of the matter is that, assuming you make the right choices over how to create your website, it is super fast, easy to learn (even if you are technically challenged), and cheap.
Regardless of whether you need a cutting edge, responsive eCommerce site that handles mobile transactions, or a state-of-the-art HTML5 platform to show off your company's portfolio, it can be done quickly and easily.
You don't need to:
- hire a costly Web developer
- waste time learning how to code with PHP, HTML, and CSS (although familiarity with HTML & CSS never hurts)
In fact, you can get started right now for free. If you want to build an eCommerce site, then check out these two step-by-step guides that show how to build online stores using your choice of the two leading hosted eCommerce site builders (Bigcommerce & Shopify):
If your business doesn't need to accept online payments, then you can also build a free site in minutes by following along at how to build a website for free with Weebly.
2. New products & services simplify things
As technology improves and the Internet grows and evolves, so new services and productivity tools appear to help save time, effort and money.
Almost any traditional business process has undergone massive changes over the last few years. Data and information is migrating online into the cloud, and outdated hardware is being replaced with online architectures.
It's no longer necessary to buy expensive, complicated software to manage your business. Buying software packages is a bad way to do things because it means you have a large initial expense for something that will be out of date in 6 months.
Instead, you can move to online services for virtually anything. A few excellent examples of cloud based business services that have helped millions of small businesses are:
- Freshbooks & Quickbooks Online: Cloud based accounting solutions aimed at SMEs
- RingCentral: Cloud based fax and phone systems
There are plenty more productivity tools available for you to explore, but I recommend starting with the ones listed here as they can really save a lot of time and money early on (important, when both your money and time is tight).
3. Internet + social media = faster growth
Using the Internet for marketing and growth is not easy. It won't work unless you do it properly. And, unfortunately, most people tend to try and take shortcuts that lead to lost time and money, and potentially unrecoverable damage to their businesses.
Yes, there are millions and millions of potential customers out there. But no, they aren't interested in you or your business... not yet anyway. It takes time to generate the trust and visibility required to attain viral growth.
The secret to using the Internet for growth is to build a small, highly loyal and vocal base of fans, followers, clients and customers - and let them drive your growth online.
Social media only works well if people are genuinely recommending you to their friends, colleagues and family. And they simply won't do this unless you are offering something of real value, with great service.
I recently wrote an article entitled why great customer service is the best marketing strategy that highlights how this has worked for a startup of mine. It shows how to turn personal interaction with clients and customers into social media capital to help grow your business quickly.
So while the Internet is full of potential, don't expect social media marketing to turn your startup into an overnight success. Many "overnight" successes took many, many years of hard, behind-the-scenes work that most people turn a blind-eye to.
But, with the right tools and technology in place to help you get to market quickly and easily, combined with perseverance and great marketing, you will be able to turn your ideas into a profitable reality.
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