Step 3: Why set up an online business?

The web has empowered everyone in the world to bypass traditional barriers and become a publisher in their own right (with a blog or YouTube channel). But few realise how easy it is to set up an online store or e-commerce website.

Sell to people all over the world

A few years ago, I once heard a quote from a very successful (and wealthy) person. I’ll paraphrase but basically, it went something like:

‘to make real money, you have to create something that makes you money while you sleep.’

Yeah, pretty obvious, but just think about that for a second. If you own and run a store in the high street, it’s unlikely you’re going to be earning any cash at night (unless you’re a 24 hour grocery store –  but then you’ll need to employ night staff). With an online business, your store stays open all day, every day – and if it’s set up right at the beginning, it can be run with relatively little effort. That said, imagine what’s possible with maximum effort…!

Low cost e-commerce solution

It costs very little to set up an e-commerce store – so little that this shouldn’t really be one of the barriers to setting up a business as we’ve mentioned in other posts.

All-in-one e-commerce websites like Shopify and Bigcommerce offer free trials and then start from around five quid a month. That’s just nuts.

It’s a level playing field

Worried about competing with the likes of Amazon or eBay? If you offer great customer service, have a great brand, offer great products or have great prices, you can compete with established brands. If you can offer all of those, you’re definitely in with a chance of being a David to an established Goliath.

While competing on price can often be a risky game (or ‘zero sum’ game if seen through its conclusion), creating a great brand can have a huge impact. Why? Well, if you’re offering the same products as everyone else, but your online business really means something to people (it’s ethical, it’s local, it’s innovative and so on), you have an advantage. It’s the reason people shop with a company even when they’re not the cheapest.

The same goes for customer service. Why do millions shop with Zappos.com instead of other shoe websites? Check out the Zappos Culture pages to find out. Ask yourself why you shop at one store over another – even when they’re more expensive. Convenience? Or do you like the way staff talk to you when you ask a question?

If you’re prepared to pay more for great customer service, have a think about how that impacts your website and how it could benefit your sales.

It saves time

Being online means you can run the business from anywhere at any time. It can be a ‘side-gig’ to your day job because it’s more much more manageable to run than an off-line business. There are lots of online tools out there that exist to help you run your business.

Next steps

So, there are lots of reasons why setting up an online business makes sense. What are you waiting for!?

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If you want to find out more about setting up a blog, improving your social media campaigns or how to drive more sales online, get in touch.

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