That being said, the Internet remains the most exponential sales and marketing tool available for brick and mortar businesses who want to increase their offline and online sales.
Here are a few tips to launching the online part of your business, to complement what you are already doing offline.
1. Invest in Your Website & Branding
This is a crucial step, no matter how limited your start-up capital is. For an online venture, the website is the business so it needs to not only look good, but also function properly on any device your customers are using (computer, tablet or phone). It needs to have the ability to take payments and of course be search engine optimisated (SEO) and more. You can do it yourself with our Internet Sales Lead Generation Toolkit or consider contacting a full service agency like 4040 Creative to help you in the early stages and get you online with a strong brand and modern, fully functioning integrated website solution.
2. Seek Professional Advice
Even if you can’t afford to hire your own lawyers, accountants and other consultants when you’re starting up, you should at the very least tap into resources like Small Business Development Centres, your local Chamber of Commerce or similar organisations in your region. Passion and talent can take you a long way in business, but being great at what you do doesn’t always translate to being great at running a business and some professional input can save you from making costly mistakes.
3. Have A Business And Marketing Plan
You can easily find free templates for both of these online if you’re not sure where to start. The old “fail to plan, plan to fail” adage definitely applies to running an online business. Spend some time doing your planning and then use it as a working guide to operating and growing your online business.
This can be done both online and off, and is crucial to help grow your business. Reach out to complimentary businesses with whom you may be able to form mutually beneficial affiliate relationships. Join groups and forums that can help connect you with other solo business owners and be seen where your potential customers are likely to be.
Be careful not to get caught up in the Social Notworking Vortex –
where countless hours are wasted…
Remember to focus on building the relationship in the initial stages rather than going in for the hard sell and consider what you can do for others BEFORE you focus on what they can do for you. Pay it forward as much as you can – selecting those partners who are worthy of such an investment.
5. Diversify Your Income Streams
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Even if you are doing really well on a particular platform – don’t rely on it always being your primary source of revenue. Things can change quickly, particularly when using a third party application that you ultimately have no control over.
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