Thanks to Jill Foster at Women Grow Business for letting me share some thoughts on doing business online. Women Grow Business is always a great source of information and inspiration. As always, it’s an honor to be featured with other women entrepreneurs. Here is the full article:
The Internet has put unlimited resources at our fingertips, providing anyone who might desire it with the ability to start a Web-based business. What makes an online business so attractive has much to do with the connectivity the Internet has given us, amplifying the power that a single individual or company might have.
This creates at least 5 outstanding benefits to doing business online.
1. Teamwork Baby!
Starting an online business requires the expertise of many. It’s tough to imagine that any one person would be able to handle the many major requirements of starting and running a business (including technical, marketing, financial, customer service, compliance) at a proficient level.
Thus, even if you are a one-person show you will need to enlist and be open to the expertise of others to be the huge success you were meant to be.
Given the accessibility to great minds and skilled professionals on the Internet, it’s now a snap to find help that fits your needs perfectly. There are many vendors to help support different areas of small business, such as My Business Assistant, which provides technical, financial and administrative support.
2. More than a drop in the bucket.
Of course some moments will be frustrating and the results of your efforts aren’t always immediately apparent. However, a great surprise awaits you in the handily integrated and accessible nature of operating a business online: each small step feeds the others. For instance, relationship building by simultaneously posting on your blog, the blogs of others, and the use of Twitter and Facebook results in an incredibly effective synergy.
Properly applied, this synergy can produce quick and cost-effective buzz very effectively, perhaps even more so than traditional marketing efforts.
All of this is something you, as a small online business owner, can easily manage. Matrix Group’s Joanna Pineda has more tips on creating a cohesive content strategy for your social networks and web site. Also, for a motivational talk on the power of social marketing, watch Guy Vaynerchuk’s presentation Uncorking Your Brand With Social Media. He discusses and provides examples of how the Internet is word-of-mouth marketing “on steroids”.
3. Do unto others.
The Golden Rule is just as relevant online. I consistently see folks who really put themselves out there ultimately reap the benefits of their goodwill. Whether they’re helping others build their businesses, spreading the word about important causes, or sharing knowledge and encouragement, their positive energy, efforts and words show the rest of the online world what a great person this would be to do business with or pass on a lead to… you get the idea. Jay Berkowitz, online marketing expert and CEO of the Ten Golden Rules says that you must “give to get”. Visit his website and pick up a copy of his book for valuable guidance in building your brand. I highly recommend it.
4. Know what your customers want.
Any business owner knows the value of feedback from your customers. The myriad of communication tools available to you online allow you to easily communicate with your online visitors. It is easy to set up a blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts for your business so that you can interact directly with your customers and followers. There are also many tools for collecting data from your site’s visitors. Key Survey and Disqus are just two of many online survey options.
Collect this data religiously and take action by applying customer feedback to your business.
5. It’s in your hands.
[image Palm of Your Hand by Nat Olly, Creative Commons]
We are all in control of our own destiny, and I can’t think of a better example of this than when conducting business online.
With so many options and resources out there, it is a ‘if you can dream it, you can do it’ scenario.
Once you have a goal in mind, the flexibility of the Internet allows you to endlessly tweak your business plan as you like. By learning from those around you, keeping a positive attitude and working steadily toward your goals, you are unstoppable. So don’t hesitate – go forth and enjoy the power and the benefits of operating an online business!
Please share what excites you about the power of doing business online!
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Guest post by Rebecca Malik, president of online contemporary furniture business 17th and Riggs. Rebecca thrives off of beautiful home design and explores related conversation at her blog The View from 17th and Riggs. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband (…and growing pet family). Rebecca welcomes your visit at her blog or www.Twitter.com/RebeccaSM.