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Things You Need to Start an Online Business in 2020

Have you been thinking about starting a small online business? Before you move forward, there are four important things you’ll need before anything else.

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Security is a major business objective

In the past months, we have seen the COVID-19 pandemic impact our world in ways we might never have imagined. With several industries furloughing many of their workers, many people have been without a job. As such, many people have been seeking alternative ways of making income.

Even if you’re lucky enough not to have been laid off, you’ve probably also thought about other ways to earn money. And given the need to follow social distancing regulations, you probably want to do business remotely too.

Because of the need to follow social distancing measures, more people have been turning to e-commerce for their shopping and businesses. If you’ve been thinking of starting an online small business, here are just a few of the things you’ll need.

1. Web design and digital marketing tools

If you’re serious about starting a business, you’ll need tools like e-mail marketing, web design, and SEO, apart from just social media.

Perhaps you think you can forgo building a website for your brand because social media exists, and it’s a great marketing tool. You’re mistaken. Social media platforms are great marketing tools, but it wasn’t made for e-commerce.

If you use Instagram, for example, as a makeshift website for your brand, you’ll be limited to the confines of the platform’s interface. But when you design a website for your brand, you’ll have a range of customizable tools for all your needs.

Benefits of Digital Marketing

You’ll also need digital marketing tools. Digital marketing is a way to spread awareness of your brand using the internet. It makes use of tools such as search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

As compared to traditional marketing – such as TV, radio, and print advertisements – digital marketing is cheaper. It also can reach a wider audience, whereas traditional marketing is usually confined to a particular region.

Another great thing about digital marketing is that it’s personalized and measurable. It gathers data about consumers, their demographics, and their shopping habits. Doing this allows you to personalize the content you send to each consumer based on these data.

Through analytics, it will enable you to see whether the marketing content you’re posting is effective – i.e., if it’s getting your brand attention.

2. A niche

The Little Lebowski is a store in New York City dedicated to selling merchandise based on the 1998 cult classic filmThe Big Lebowski. Co-owners Roy Preston and Nicholas Dollak originally intended for their shop to be a children’s bookstore, but that endeavor didn’t do them any favors.

Eventually, they got around to selling the Big Lebowski-themed shirts. Seeing that these sold more than the books, their suppliers sent them more and more Lebowski merchandise. Today, their shop has become a popular destination in Greenwich Village.

Co-owner Roy Preston’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to find their niche. This is a crucial part of starting a business. Focusing on a niche market will pinpoint your target and help you adjust your marketing materials accordingly.

Trying to serve as broad a market as possible may stretch you too thin, especially when you’re just starting. You can’t please everyone, so don’t try to. Instead, focus your efforts on serving a specific group of people.

4 Benefits of Software for Your Online Business

Once you find your niche, do your research. Know the consumers, their habits, and what they want. Then get to know the competition; if you know what kind of products or services you want to sell, check Google Trends. This will help you to see how many people have been googling those keywords.

3. Hire a bookkeeper

Many small business owners will say that they can manage their bookkeeping. Unless you’re a skilled accountant yourself, it’s still best to hire an expert. Having an accountant from the get-go can help you with planning your business. An accountant can help you plot your finances, secure the proper permits and documents, and prepare for your business in both the short and long-term.

Once you’ve started your business, you also have the option to use an accounting software tool such as QuickBooks for your bookkeeping needs.

4. Capital

Of course, you’ll need money to pay for all these things. You have to spend money to make money. Perhaps you have some money saved up that you can use to launch your startup, or maybe you’re thinking of applying for a loan. Take advantage of the e-commerce trend. Find a niche

There are many other things you’ll need when starting an online business, but these four things will give you a good foundation. Even if you’re lucky enough not to have been furloughed – or perhaps you’ve bounced back and found employment – it’s still worth it to look for other avenues of income.

Find a niche market you’d like to serve and study them. Gather some money from your savings or a loan and enlist an accountant to help you plot finances.

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Business

Upgrades That Will Help Your Business Thrive

Once you’ve identified your goals and how to attain them, you can then grow your business in specific areas according to what you want to achieve.  The following 13 upgrades cover common areas of business that typically need developing:

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Upgrades That Will Help Your Business Thrive

Continuous improvement should be the primary goal of any business.  While it takes time and effort and some financial outlay, it’s crucial to continue growing and striving toward becoming the leader in your field.

This guide offers 13 ideas to help your business grow, increase your customer base, improve your productivity and boost your bottom line.

Start With A Solid Foundation

Before you commit to growth you should ensure your business is built on solid ground.  Here are some tips to help you begin:

Know your business – the use of tools such as benchmarking, market research and trend analysis will help you get a better picture of the factors affecting your business.

Take charge of your finances Make a commitment to understanding your daily, weekly, and monthly figures. Unless you have a dedicated accountant, you need to have a thorough understanding of your financial situation.

Prioritize your goals – identify those business goals which can be achieved relatively quickly and those which will require more time and financial investment. Make sure the goals you set are relevant and can be achieved in a realistic timeframe.

Develop a plan – once you’ve identified your goals, you will need to develop strategies to realize them and the best means of implementing those strategies.

Make your results measurable – work out how you are going to measure your results.  You may want to introduce devices such as a point system or desired percentage increase.

13 Ways To Upgrade Your Business

Once you’ve identified your goals and how to attain them, you can then grow your business in specific areas according to what you want to achieve.  The following 13 upgrades cover common areas of business that typically need developing:

Include reviews – today’s consumers place great value on the opinions of their peers when it comes to buying products. Upgrading your website to include customer reviews will help to increase sales and boost customer confidence. Be sure to include both good and bad reviews if you want to be taken seriously.

Upgrade your internet an upgrade to FTTP (fiber to the premises) now will pay big dividends for your business down the line and it doesn’t have to cost you anything.  Qualifying businesses connecting to high-speed NBN plans can enjoy a $0 upfront cost.

Computer Monitor and Other Remote Work Must-Haves

Introduce automation – there is a multitude of software and applications designed to reduce labor costs and increase productivity. Many are inexpensive and can free up small business owners, allowing them to focus more on growing their core business.

Increase your social media presence – rather than just a Facebook page and a presence on Instagram and Twitter, you should look at other forms of customer interaction such as articles, sponsorship, blogs, and webinars.

Start networking – as well as an online presence, you need to get out there more and attend industry-related events such as expos and seminars.  This is, not only to network with others in your field but also to forge new contacts with like-minded businesses, with cross-promotion in mind.

Create a rewards program – think of ways to reward your existing customers to maintain their loyalty and incentivize them to buy from you again.  These could include early access to specials and exclusive offers not available to the general public.

Create an email list – email addresses of existing customers are a valuable resource you should be taking full advantage of.  Send those on your mailing list regular reminders of what you have to offer, but make sure it’s valuable content rather than what could be perceived as spam.

Ask for feedback – another valuable resource is your customers’ opinions.  Ask them what they think of your products and then use this feedback to improve your product line and customer service.

Streamline your business – identify which products aren’t selling, which employees aren’t performing and any other areas that may be holding you back.  Make changes and be ruthless on behalf of your business.

Reduce overheads – look at ways to cut costs within your business such as transitioning to a remote workforce or outsourcing business processes such as payroll, HR, and bookkeeping.

Invest in your people – good staff morale translates into good customer service. Provide your employees additional training, advancement opportunities, and a fair wage to ensure a healthy company culture.

Improve your credentials – reduce your carbon footprint, introduce sustainable processes and practice corporate responsibility in order to retain and grow your customer base.

Increase cybersecurity upgrade your cybersecurity systems to make sure you are protected from the latest threats from hackers, malware, etc.  This is particularly important if you have a remote workforce.

Roughly half of all small businesses don’t make it past their fifth year of operation, so continuous improvement needs to be a priority from day one. Adopting just a few of the measures suggested here should help keep your business on trend, competitive, and above all, profitable.

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