The world of an online business is vastly different than the rest of the business world. Internet-based companies are often smaller and require less concern about managing real estate and facilities due to their basis in cyber space. Employees and customers may be spread out all around the world, posing unique challenges for managing and delivering first-rate service.
So what does it take to be a success as an online business owner?
Here are some of the characteristics and practices that tend to set those who rise to the top in the difficult world of Internet-based business apart from the rest.
- A Lifelong Commitment to Learning.Online small business owners typically have fewer employees than their brick-and-mortar business owner counterparts. As a result, you’re likely to wear a number of different hats, and each probably fits you a little differently. Successful online business owners recognize that they cannot be experts at every single thing that is required of them and know that they will need to be constantly growing and developing in various roles over time. Give some consideration to where your weaknesses lie and how you might be able to learn new things to strengthen these areas. For example, maybe you would benefit from some community college classes in bookkeeping or perhaps an online seminar in pay-per-click marketing would be beneficial for you. Make it a goal to always be learning something through some format throughout the year
- A Tendency to Work Backward.
No, successful online business owners don’t sit backwards in their chairs all day. The type of working backwards that leads to success involves starting with the end goal in mind and then developing a strategy to get there. Where do you want your business to go? Are you hoping to increase sales? Enter a new market? Build your brand? If you don’t have an ultimate goal in mind for the short and long term, you won’t be able to plan your day to day operations with purpose.
- An Early Start to the Day.
That saying about the early bird and the worm has a lot of truth to it. Successful online business owners get up early and begin their days while others are still slumbering. The early morning hours are usually quieter with fewer emails and phone calls. During this time of day, you can put serious work into your business without interruption. Plus, you’ll get a sense of accomplishment when you’re able to cross items off of your to-do list before other people have even had their first cups of coffee.
- Attention to Organization.
When you’re delivering products and services online, a lack of organization can seriously destroy your business. When you’re not interacting with your customers face to face, there are fewer tangibles like sales receipts and work orders to use as reminders, making it important that you develop a strong system to help you provide timely service while still juggling all of the other items on your to-do list. Create a schedule for yourself every day and make sure that you refer to it often. Break large projects into small chunks of time and hold yourself accountable for completing them. And don’t be afraid to hire a virtual assistant or intern if you need help digging out from a mountain of disorganization. It’s better to spend the time and money to get everything sorted out, so that you can have a fresh start.
- A Focus on Value.
In order to be successful in the world of online business, you need to offer value to your customers, and it’s hard to do that if you don’t know what matters to them. Take some time to think about what your target market wants, needs and desires. Then, ask yourself what you’re doing to provide them with something of value. Use value as your guide when you’re marketing, providing customer service and planning for the introduction of new products or services.
Keep in mind that there is no one set of rules for what it takes to succeed in the world of online businesses. The term can now apply to companies across a broad range of industries and niches, making it difficult to develop a set of rules that will universally apply to every business out there. That said, keeping the habits that have helped many online business owners make their companies a success in mind will undoubtedly benefit you, particularly when you combine those best practices with a careful analysis of what it takes to succeed in your own niche.