How to Build a Successful Online Business in 2021

Online

Have you decided to ditch your 9 to 5 job in favor of an online business, such as an e-commerce website or a blogging business? Or have you decided to take up an online business as a side hustle to complement your 9-5 job, and rake in extra cash? Whichever way, these are great intentions.

The Internet and smartphones have changed the way we do business, and in 2020 alone, E-commerce sales accounted for over 25% percent of all retail sales online, according to Statista.

A great number of people are taking a stab at starting their online businesses, so why shouldn’t you?

But, do you have a real understanding of what it takes to be successful in an online business? While it is good to dream big and have big goals of generating a million dollars, do you have a full grasp of what you need to get to that point and ensure that you don’t get lost in the tide?

According to several sources, including Forbes, over 90% of all online business start-ups fail. Fortunately, you are reading this guide, which contains tips that can place you in the 10% successful online businesses. Let’s do this!

With this in mind, here are few tested and trusted tips that you must follow to stand out and succeed with your online business goals:

Understand Your Niche

How do others perceive your brand? What do people know about what you stand for? People like to do business with brands that they know, like, and trust. In your chosen niche, you have to be authentic, doing what works for you and your target audience.

This is why doing market research about the needs and wants of your target audience is important even before you start.

Are there particular demographics you want to attract? What qualities will they look out for in your product/service, and how can you meet those? This will help you with positioning your brand and creating the best marketing strategy for communicating your business with your target consumers.

For instance, if you want to start a blogging business in the fitness niche, you have to identify what aspect of fitness you are well versed in. In this vein, let’s say you decide to focus on workout routines and nutrition, your next step should be to identify the people you want to reach, and how best you can add value to their lives through your blog.

So, you have a niche now, what next?

Know Your Competition

Competition refers to brands that sell or market the same products/services as you. Except you are going into a niche with no existing businesses, which is almost impossible, then you need to evaluate your competition.

Why should customers choose you over others? This is even more crucial in the online business world.

Your strategy for Content Marketing, SEO optimization, and your User experience/interface (website/ mobile app) should position you ahead of your competition. You should be aware of the social media platforms your competitors are using. This will also arm you with knowledge on where best to engage with your potentials.

For instance, doing your analysis of your competition, you might discover that they focus more on Instagram because the majority of target consumers spend their time there. Needless to say, any social media marketing strategy you craft should then center more on Instagram.

Optimize your Web Assets

Web assets are what constitute your online business. They include everything from your website, social media profiles to your hosting accounts.

You need to organize these relevant assets and ensure that they are fully optimized for your brand.

For instance, your webpages and social media should always be completely updated with the latest information about your company.

Your website should be responsive with quick load time to improve the time consumers spend on it. A lightning-fast load speed increases visitor engagement and sales, and instant web response results in higher conversion rates.

According to a recent Aberdeen Group Research, every 1 second delay in page load decreases customer satisfaction by 16 percent, page views by 11 percent, and conversion rates by 7 percent.

Over Deliver

After examining your competitors, set benchmarks for your brand’s products and services, and try always to surpass them. Endeavor to meet consumers’ expectations on the value you communicated and even exceeded them.

The importance of delivering more value, especially for your initial offerings, cannot be over stressed. First impressions usually last longer, and a great one could mean several loyal customers.

Just imagine the glee on your consumers’ faces when they discover that they have gotten way more value from your brand than they expected. Priceless! This will keep them coming back for more.

Such a consumer will go ahead to tell friends, who will, in turn, tell friends, and your customer base will keep increasing till you become a leader in that niche, gaining the trust and attention of consumers.

Be Conscious of and Protect the Online Reputation of your Brand

Reputation is at the core and center of any online business. Even the slightest mistake can put your brand in a negative light and taint your brand for a long time. One way to remain conscious about mentions of your brand is to set a Google Alerts notification.

Have social media guidelines and strict branding rules. If anyone is posting about your brand, then you understand what you expect from them.

But even beyond brand mentions, how do you deal with and respond to complaints from your customers. It is highly recommended that you develop a serving, not selling mindset. Be interested in solving customers’ problems, and meeting them at their point of need.

Recent statistics show that 73% of consumers love a brand because of helpful customer service, and 89% of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values.

Focus on Serving

When you focus on serving your customers to the best of your capacity and providing great value, sales and profit will come naturally.

Learn how to identify the concerns and problems of your consumers, and educate them on how to solve these issues as a freebie.

As an online fitness coach, for instance, if you notice that your customers are having issues with balancing their carbs intake, you can create a detailed blog post or YouTube video to address that.

People love free things. So, helping your customers with that issue for free will endear you to them. But even beyond that, it will also go a long way to show that you are very knowledgeable, and stand you out among other fitness coaches.

What’s more, research shows that brands which blog generate 67% more leads. So, serving customers will eventually lead to more gains.

Conclusion

If you want to enter the business world, you have to learn how to be persistent. If you continue to do all the right things we’ve discussed above, staying consistent, you can realize your goals.

Access our network of Investors, get instantly matched with a Lender, or get a business plan by visiting us Funded.com

Unique Ways to Fund Your Small Business

Small business

If you’re a startup, there is nothing surprising in facing teething troubles.  But none of these challenges or troubles is as big or critical as funding your business. That means finding investment to get your business off the ground is, without a doubt a daunting task.  From production space, buying goods to renting office, and hiring staff, turning a simple idea into a business practically requires funds and money.

Unless you are wealthy enough to finance your business or your benevolent relative has left you a lot of money, you probably have to find ways to fund your business.  Luckily, there are some smart ways you can resolve this problem. Here are some of those unique ways to help you fund your business.

How Can You Fund Your Small Business?

1.     Crowdfunding

One of the easiest way to find your business enough funds is crowdfunding- which is a practice of raising funds from different forums or people.  It is an alternative finance and a kind of crowd sourcing.   Luckily, there are plenty of crowdfunding options available for you right on the internet.

When asking for investment funds for your businesses from a variety of investors, it is highly recommended to come up with an impressive pitch. The success of your crowdfunding campaign depends more on how you pitch the idea than it does on the idea itself. Of course, you need a team with you to plan out your crowdfunding campaign.

A common reason why startups choose this method of funding is because of the flexibility of options. Venture capitals are known for being strict with their investments. They will demand more equity in your business than you will ever have to offer through a crowdfunding model. They usually focus more on their returns than the success of the startup. The situation is quite the opposite when you go with the crowdfunding option.

2.     Angel Investors

Angel Investors is no doubt one of the unique funding options among all as they are always looking for innovative ideas to invest in the business. Originally business giants like Yahoo and Google were also used this funding option. It is worth noting that taking funds from Angel Investors requires entrepreneurs to give them some equity share in the company.

3.     Small Business Loans (SBA)

This funding option is a result of the U.S government’s interest in rampant growth of the small business industry.  The s Small Business Administration, in this regard, offers a wide range of loan types and business investments to help business owners get started.  Exploring the SBA loan options is a great way to kick start your business, if intend to run an educational institute or non-profits set-up.   For easy funding, you might want to request for SBA grants.

4.      Venture Capitalists

Much like angel investors, the funding option invest money in up-and-coming- businesses that have high potential to not only grow but also monetary returns.  In addition to that, Venture Capitalist looks for equity share in the business it invests money in. The investors are also interested in getting a right in company’s directorial decisions.  In short, VCs make money through their investments and consider having some control or authority in the business is the best way to do that.  It is always better to investigate this funding option thoroughly before opting it.

5.     Microloans

 Reserved specifically for small non-profit businesses, finance institutions grant microloans to entrepreneurs who don’t qualify for a bank loans. Microloan organizations, instead of giving donations to the non-profit companies allow entrepreneurs to invest in various economic opportunities.  Microloans are also a popular financing option in developing nations.

6.     Personal Financing

There is no denying that investing in a startup entails a lot of risks and these risks are what prevent traditional lenders from giving loans to business owners. This becomes even more skeptical if business owner doesn’t invest his/her own money in the startup.

7.     Purchase Order Financing         

 There is an array of factors that affect the cash flows of any business. These factors may include supply and demand and seasonality.  For examples, sometimes a company is unable to complete the orders due to fewer funds to buys inventory and material to make the products.

In situations like these, purchase order financing can be the panacea to the problems. It helps companies extend advance to purchase material they need to make products. Purchase order financing collect back money when products are sold.  If your business deals in manufactured goods, it stands a chance to makes 20% more on its sales by opting purchase order financing.

8.     Vendor Financing

If your bill payment record is contingent on your product selling record, you may take the benefits by negotiating longer payment terms with the vendors.  Vendors, typically require payments on invoices within thirty days before imposing penalties and late fees.  Negotiating longer payment terms will allow you work with more cash in the interim.

This is even more important if your business has a longer sales cycle than thirty days. That means if sales cycle takes  forty to forty-five days from  purchasing to selling goods, you will not be able to make invoices payment within a  month.  In that case, you need negotiations to avail vendor financing to benefit your sales cycle.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, investments and business funding are of paramount importance no matter what industry you want to get into. If you lack sufficient finances, it is important to weigh all options you can choose to give a kick start your business.  Given that, the mentioned funding options are great to consider if they suit your requirements.

Access our network of Investors, get instantly matched with a Lender, or get a business plan by visiting us Funded.com

The Distributed Teams and How It Can Benefit Your Company

Teams

Distributed teams or distributed workforce is not a new concept for entrepreneurs. However, with dynamic technology, the business world underwent a revolution and with it the concept of distributed teams. Today, employees have a plethora of options to work from different places and this changed traditional organizational models.

A number of companies follow an organizational model using which they distribute a significant percentage of employees. Despite the fact that the structure involves multiple challenges, businesses cannot ignore the critical benefits this concept entails.

If you are an entrepreneur and looking for a strong organizational model to improve your work pattern, here is what you need to know about a distributed team and its benefits:

Work Style Evolution

In the traditional setup of offices, people work together under one roof. There is no denying that this is one of the efficient ways to work when employees are present in an in-house setup. As mentioned earlier, things changed and traditional models saw an evolution in terms of the working environment.

That means now working in a strict schedule with a little flexibility is not a requirement anymore. The tech world offers plenty of choices for both companies and employees to work with flexible hours.  Many workers now have the option to work remotely as long as they are meeting the work requirements. Employees have a lot of freedom to work from wherever they want, making the most of their flexible working hours.

By tailoring this workforce, companies are now able to match the work stream as well as employees working style. That means the organizations that support the concept of distributed teams attract top talent as well as stay competitive.

Why A Distributed Team Is Beneficial For Companies?

This might sound surprising to you but the concept of a distributed team does not only facilitate employees. It has a myriad of benefits when it comes to retaining employees and building a strong team.

Talent Beyond Geographic Boundaries

This is one of the most significant benefits of a distributed team. It makes hiring a skilled individual who lives in different parts of the world extremely easy. Employers can open a remote position for anyone wishing to work from home or any other part of the world.

This means now organizations can easily find a bigger pool of qualified employees if they are willing to become remote workers. Companies no longer face restrictions in terms of hiring candidates living in the same city.  Distance does not matter, as talent hunt becomes easy and efficient.

Build a Team with the Talent You Want

No matter if your business deals in highly competitive areas and requires people who are truly professional and dedicated. Distributed teams enable you to recruit talent that can meet the demands of your challenging work.

The Team Has an Incredible Amount of Freedom

This benefit is significant when it comes to enumerating the advantages of distributing teams. Being a part of a distributed team does not only save commute time but also gives an incredible amount of freedom to employees. They have plenty of time to travel, spend time with family and participate in several other leisure activities. It is all because the working hours are flexible and the team member gets a chance to balance their work and family while sustaining productivity.

Better Coverage

Working with a team spread across different regions and time zones provides businesses with a great ability to have better coverage in this global environment. With distributed teams, there is no need to make employees work in different shifts for providing sufficient coverage. Businesses can hire team members and place them in various strategic locations to solve the issue.

Provides Headcount Affordably

Although cost-saving is not the only reason to create a distributed team, it can help you save a lot of money. This means if your office location is expensive and you are already paying high wages, there is no need to expand the office space. You can rely on a distributed team to complete your work without having to pay for office space.

Work-Life Balance

There is no doubt that a well-managed team has a way more high morale than employees working with a fixed schedule. This is simply because team members do not have to compromise their personal life to achieve their professional goals.

Increased Productivity

Working in a peaceful atmosphere without distractions results in a better quality of work. Although calls, notifications, Skype or emails can distract you, you can easily manage them.

A Chance to Create a Diverse Team

Cultural diversity in the distribute teams play a critical role when it comes to thinking out of the box or demonstrating creativity. A number of studies show that diversity in teams brings out their best in terms of unconventional solutions and adopting new ideas.  It is an excellent way to create an innovative team.

Provide Flexibility

As mentioned above, one of the major benefits of having a distributed team is it gives employees more flexibility to work. It does not only facilitate workers in managing their personal schedule but also work.  For example, if a team member has to travel somewhere or change geographic location, the team structure accommodates it without losing that employee.

Fewer Overheads

Another potential benefit a distributed team provides to a company is lower overheads. This means companies can be a bit leaner with no office space rent, furniture cost, electricity cost, water cooler, and other expenses.

However, you cannot exclude the travel cost when an in-person meeting is necessary with a team member but even then it is way more affordable than a conventional in-office working model. Decide on a common meeting place and make this process cost-efficient.

Final Thoughts

To a small extent, work flexibility, better productivity, global coverage, and many personal benefits make distributed team one of the best business models any company may choose. It is an easy way to work with a happier workforce.

Access our network of Investors, get instantly matched with a Lender, or get a business plan by visiting us Funded.com

What Are the Necessary Means to Improve Your Business

ImproveEntrepreneurs are not born; they learn things by experiencing ups and downs in a business. To make consistent improvement to improve your business status is critical to maintaining sustainability. Successful entrepreneurs perpetually monitor their business process in order to identify loopholes.  Monitoring your business cash flow and identifying your strengths and weaknesses is a key process that helps you improve your business.

Apart from this, there are several things you can do to keep the risk minimum while enjoying a double-digit growth every year.

Here we have included an overview of some necessary means you can use to improve your business growth

Ways to Improve your Business

1.     Assess Your Business Situation

As mentioned earlier, monitoring the progress of your business is a key to bring improvement.  This is where you identify the areas that need change. However, before you make the changes, it is ideal to ensure that you are aware of the factors that are affecting the success of your business.

These factors may include emerging market trends, your current business strategies, weak market strategies or even lack of competent staff. Fortunately, there are a number of tools you can use to assess your business status. Following tools can help you:

SWOT Analysis:

It is an effective tool that is designed to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business. Not only does it help you assess the strong areas of your business operations, but also threats and opportunities. You can work out all internal as well as external factors that keep your business from growing.

SWOT is one of the widely used analytical tools to help you in the decision-making process.

SWOT

  • Builds on strengths
  • Minimizes weaknesses
  • Seizes opportunities
  • Counteracts threats

Market research

It is another important tool to investigate the business market to help entrepreneurs identify emerging trends, new technologies, and customer demands

Trend   Analysis

The tool uses your business data for the last five years to identify and assess consistent trends.

Benchmarking

It is a smart tool that is used to measure business performances with the same size of business being operated in the industry.

2.     Business Goals

Whether it is business or your life, without goals it is completely directionless. Business goals keep you focused and energetic, which makes your business successful. You can use these objectives as a part of your ongoing business plan to make sure you keep moving forward.

However, there are certain criteria that need to be considered while setting these goals. Your goals have to be SMART- specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. That means they have to be practical to be achieved within a set timeline. It would be better to prioritize your business goals or to write them down on paper.

You can plan short or long -term strategies to accomplish them. It will help you determine the time, finances and resources.

3.     Develop a Strategic Plan

There is no doubt that businesses whether small or big, take time to progress. That is why it is important to create a smart strategic plan that has an outlook of at least 3 to 4 years. The plan should be made keeping the business goals ahead.

Make sure each year defines your business goals plus how your team will achieve those goals over the estimated time. Besides this, it is important to prepare a financial plan to meet the growing needs of your business.

That means the business strategy will not only define how your business will make profits, but also where and how much you will invest.

According to expert entrepreneurs, it is always beneficial to review your business strategic plans. It helps you match the set goals with the profit your business has produced.

4.      Be Passionate About Meeting the Goals

This might seem a no-brainer or something trivial, but it can make a huge difference when it comes to accomplishing your business goals. When you are passionate about your work, your colleagues and employees can feel this energy as well.

In other words, showing enthusiasm and excitement cannot be underestimated as it plays a critical role to make your team more hardworking, and focused toward their work productivity. The passion and enthusiasm translate to a better outcome.

Unhappy workers, on the other hand, pass through negative energy and make work more challenging.

5.     Implement Strategies

You cannot achieve business goals unless you implement the changes. Once you have made the strategic plan and estimated finances, it is the time to implement strategies. The implementation process includes several tasks and actions.

It is always a good idea to device an action plan, divides the workload, and tasks accordingly.  Following are some of the important points to help you implement the changes for business improvement.

  • Time Frame: Determine how long a specific task will take to complete. Set tentative dates for the task.
  • Actions: Divide the tasks among those employees that you think are the most appropriate to accomplish them. State actions to be taken precisely.
  • Responsibilities: Assign responsibilities; make sure your teams get the work done in time
  • Resources: Compile a list of supplies, budget, and other finances
  • Outcomes: State your desired outcomes and how the results will be evaluated

6.     Evaluate Success

You need to establish some measures to evaluate whether you have achieved your business goal or not.   These assessment measures depend on the type of tasks you are working on. If your business goals are significant, the measurement process will be more complex, such as measuring profits by a set percentage.

Along with these measures, you can set percentages for each task. It will help you evaluate the success statistically.  Plus, you need to consider how frequently you wish to measure your business achievements. It is very helpful when it is about setting new goals.

Final Thoughts

Your business does not only need your time, but also smart strategies and an effective action plan to improve revenues and profits. The above-mentioned tips are necessary means all entrepreneurs must adopt to sustain a prosperous business.

 

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