Connectivity is important to us in every part of our lives now, which has made the online business sector thrive. 51% of businesses actually engage more with their clients online now than offline.
Starting an online business is as easy as it’s ever been, which is why the sector is booming.
Many business ideas have only been made possible by being online. Consider:
Whenever we make new innovations, new possibilities for business follow. Some simply take advantage of what’s on offer to utilize in their business.
Other businesses have successfully made the transition from offline to online. Anyone under 25 can’t imagine doing many things offline, as they have had so much online access.
There are many benefits to being an online-only business:
- Less space required for your business
- Fewer manpower hours, as you don’t have to keep a shop or office staff
- Fewer energy costs
More traditional businesses have successfully combined their online and offline presence. However, there’s no doubt that the internet gives you more reach.
Consumers have gained confidence in online businesses. Now one of the first things people do when they need a product or service is open a search engine.
Why are online businesses successful?
There are a number of things specific to online businesses which contribute greatly to their success. Seeing whether these apply to your business idea could be the difference in turning a profit or not.
Low start-up costs
In general, it costs less to start an online business than to open a physical one. Of course, there are exceptions, but for the most part, you will have less initial outlay.
There are many templated solutions for online businesses now, particularly if you want to open an e-commerce store. The main upfront cost of a business is usually your business premises, but now you can start at home.
If you choose to sell items, you don’t even need to physically invest in them anymore. You can set up dropshipping so the items are only purchased when a customer buys from you.
Access to more geographical areas
Traditionally, if you opened a business, whether it was a law firm, bookstore, or accountant, you were limited geographically. You could only really access those in your immediate vicinity or possibly the next town.
Now, those limits have been removed. As long as you can serve your clients, it doesn’t matter where they are.
They can order online, pay online, and even speak to you online. Some consultancy services are exclusively online.
One area where this has made a huge impact is online casinos. Those who couldn’t play poker or other card games nearby can now do so in their bedroom at their own convenience at a site where you can use a poker no-deposit bonus.
There is a world of opportunity available there. You just need to decide what you’re offering.
No limit to opening hours
Another thing that makes online businesses so successful is the fact they can be open all hours. If someone pops something in their card at 8 pm their time and it’s 2 am where you are, that’s fine.
If you’re worried about customer service, you can automate many things to answer your customer’s queries at any time.
Opportunities to scale
When reading a business plan, investors like to see the scalability of a prospect. Online businesses have more scope to scale as they are unbound geographically.
Scaling a business isn’t easy, but with all the tools available to you online, particularly social media, it’s manageable. Often scaling your business involves making your customers’ lives easier.
A great example of this is Amazon, whose products can be delivered in over 120 countries worldwide. They have recently introduced drone delivery, which makes deliveries even faster.
When you scale your online business, you are opening the door to much larger profits.
Anyone who has ever started a business will tell you that it takes time. You can’t just work four hours a day and expect to earn millions.
However, you do have more flexibility when you start a business online.
- You can start it anywhere
- You can work when you like
- You can use automation tools to keep certain processes running
- You don’t have to waste time commuting, which equals more productivity
- You can choose to work from home/school/the library/a local coffee-shop
Online entrepreneurs know that what makes them money is productivity. That doesn’t necessarily mean spending hours toiling on your business.
Work smarter, not harder!
If you bought a restaurant, you might have to wait at least a year before making a profit. With online businesses, they make money fast, usually within a few months.
This is partly due to the following:
- Low investment required
- Fewer overheads
However, it also involves being well-researched beforehand and delivering value to customers.
How do online businesses succeed?
People who have started online businesses successfully share the following advice:
Whether it’s an accounting or general admin, find support, so it’s not taking up your valuable time.
There are automation tools for almost everything these days:
- Social media management, such as Hootsuite or Sprout
- Online invoicing tools, such as SAGE
- Diary management tools, such as Calendly
- Team communication apps such as Slack
- Project management sites, including asana
These will save you time and money.
What is the future of online businesses?
The internet is a powerful tool that humans all over the planet rely on daily. That means that there are opportunities out there, but there are always risks too.
However, the following are poised to make an impact over the coming five years:
More additions to P2P
Peer-to-peer businesses, such as Airbnb, have been a stand-out online. It’s expected that more of these will emerge – especially in healthcare and financial services.
More spending on security online
The risk of hacking and cybercrime has increased exponentially as more websites go live. Online businesses are now investing to ensure that their customer’s information is protected.
Forecasting an upward trend
Online businesses are certainly here to stay. It’s likely that in ten years, there’ll be even more options and niches that some haven’t even considered yet!
What is the best advice to follow?
- Keep an eye on trends.
- Keep listening to your customers to make your online business a roaring success.