How to Succeed at Running an Online Business

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In the current economic climate it can be tempting to set up your own business and as more and more people go online it seems the obvious choice to set up an online company. But it’s not always plain sailing and even with the best business plan, online companies can and do fail. So what shouldn’t you be doing when setting up your business?

One of the main reasons a small business can fail is poor management, especially poor financial management:
When starting up a business there are a lot of financial considerations and if these aren’t taken into account it can be a recipe for disaster. Without enough capital to invest in a startup a business can fall at the first hurdle and if a business needs loans to get going the cost of paying it back needs to be factored in. A lot of online businesses are not going to make a fortune to start out with and this has to be planned for. It is also important that online managers have a good grasp of how to manage their money on a day to day basis. Therefore, in order to succeed it is vital that they have a solid financial plan in place.

Marketing:
Every online business has to market themselves in order to survive. It is a competitive market and so a company has to advertise in order to be seen. It is also vital to do market research before setting up a business so that they can truly shine in the current climate.

Online business owners need to know who their client is in order to effectively target their marketing. There is no point advertising in a newspaper aimed at middle aged men when you are selling makeup aimed at women in their twenties. And without paying customers a business will flounder.

A simple and effective way to avoid this is to use Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM) software. CRM systems can not only improve a business’ relationship with their existing customers but also can help a company target new customers and refine their marketing strategy. This means that businesses can make sure their marketing strategy is more effective and aimed specifically at the needs of their customer base.

Operations management:
An online business owner needs to intimately know and more importantly understand every aspect of the company. It doesn’t matter how small the details, the online business manager must know what is going on. This includes managing employees, ordering stock and how the site is running. But one area that is vital to the success of a business is customer satisfaction. If a first time customer doesn’t like the experience they have on your site they won’t come back and the business can lose out on an important revenue stream.

One simple way of dealing with this is once again to use CRM software. CRM is a strategy to manage customer relations and to learn more about their needs and behaviours and ultimately build a stronger relationship with them. This can increase the number of cross sales through targeted marketing, identify customer needs, understand the what to sell and when by analysing historical trends and work out which customers are profitable to the business and which aren’t.

Running a small online business is challenging but with the right tools and frame of mind they can easily be a success.

 

This article was written by Workbooks, leading supplier of web-based CRM software.


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