How to Build a Successful Online Business in 2020

online Business

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 2019 alone, E-commerce sales accounted for over 14% 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.

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How New Office Layouts Boost Productivity?

There is no denying that office layout is one of the significant contributing factors when it comes to improving business productivity. Helene Segura, a productivity consultant, stated that she has identified several issues with her clients related to client’s efficiency that is rooted in office setup and time management.

According to her, the lack of productivity is directly related to workspace set up. Gallup in its State of Global Workplace report found that 51 percent of workers fail to engage with work due to a dull office interior.

17 percent of workers stated that they were disengaged and that affected their productivity adversely. The statistics indicate that this dismal state is typically caused by office layout and can be one of the reasons for the decline in productivity.

To put it simply, workplace happiness can make a huge difference when it is about maintaining work performance. Office layouts can change the way we work. The Ethonomic’s author believes that you can change the value of your offices just by changing the approach to office design.

Having said that, here we have enumerated a few reasons why office layouts can boost the productivity of workers.

Effects of Office Layout

1.     Creativity with Space

Creative office space doesn’t only mean that employees want a lavish multi-story building to improve productivity. If you creatively design your office space, it can change the work approach of your employees. That means workers should have access to collaborative spaces, private meeting rooms, and most importantly natural light.

All these elements play a critical role in increasing employee satisfaction and productivity. These open spaces allow workers to move around freely and they will not feel tied to their desks. Plus, it will create more opportunities for workers to collaborate with each other.

2.     Productivity

There is no doubt that when you work at a place that has an interesting and beautiful layout, you feel reinvigorated. It definitely has a positive effect on your work productivity. However, if the office layout has dingy lighting, colorless walls and isolated cubicles, it creates an environment that is off-putting and uninspiring.

That is to say, investing to improve the ambiance of your office space is important as it can uplift the overall mood. This way, workers will feel motivated and energetic and look forward to their work. The pleasant workspace boosts both worker’s creativity as well as productivity.

3.     An opportunity to Collaborate

Whether you agree or not innovative and creative office layouts can shake things up. It can definitely diminish the effects of monotony and enable employees to maximize their work strength. Employees gradually adapt themselves, according to the work environment.

That means if the work environment is not isolated and employees work collaboratively, it adds to their creativity. Different departments can bounce off multiple creative ideas by working together. It is a great way to make a decision and solve problems.

Modern Office Layouts to Boost Productivity

The attractive office layouts are of paramount importance to retain workers. Modern office designs promise rich amenities and creative spaces to enhance employees’ lives. Most new office buildings, in this regard, internalize the amenities and products that employees use to seek externally.

With time, these trends have become common and prevalent.  Amenity-rich office spaces provide comfort to employees, who struggle not only physically, but also mentally due to time constraints

Considering this, here we have enlisted a few modern house amenities to help you make your workspace productive.

·   Modern Lobbies

The tranquilized and peaceful environment can undeniably have a great impact on employees work productivity. Employees, whether current or prospective, form an impression of their workspace by building lobbies.

If there are chaotic streetscapes, crowded atmosphere, and loud environment, it affects the psychology of workers. Spacious and quiet environments, on the other hand, enhance the productivity of workers.

·   Open Floor plans

It is essential for office buildings to be flexible and owners should invest in the right infrastructure. It can only happen when you recognize the needs of your workers and provide them an open, collaborative space with better communal areas.

It can immensely boost their work productivity. Furthermore, it inspires employees’ sense of well-being and makes them feel stress free and motivated.

·    Flexible layouts

It is hard to deny that the modern workforce is more energetic and not static. There has been a significant rise in startups and remote workers in the past two decades. That has increased the demand for flexible designs for office spaces.

One way you can incorporate this modern amenity into your office design is to design spaces that are not static.

For example, workstations that can be converted into standing desks, open lounges, meeting rooms, and movable walls make a great flexible office layout. Not only is it an excellent way to redesign your office space, but also to expand it. This way you can provide more convenience to your workers when it is needed.

·    Employees’ Health

There is no way to boost productivity if employers do not consider the health of the workers while deciding on the workspace infrastructure. That means if your office layout does not promote a healthy lifestyle, boosting work productivity is difficult.

By a healthy lifestyle, we mean full-service canteens or cafeterias, natural light and amenities like go-and -grab meals. Plus, office layouts should be spacious enough for meetings and free walk. The best office layouts have sit-stand desks that have a great impact on work productivity.

·    Nature

Workers spend not less than eight hours in a day inside the office that deprives them of natural light.   That is what makes choosing an office design that is airy,  open and green extremely important to boost cognition. The design trend that connects employees with nature has a powerful impact on work productivity.

Bottom Line

To a small extent, there is no doubt that amenity -rich office spaces are not just for visual appeal, but also have an optimal effect on the productivity of your workers. Thus, modern layout of the workplace can really make a huge difference in improving the productivity of your workers.

 

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The Distributed Team and How It Can Benefit Your Company

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.

 

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Ideal Approaches to Achieve Business Growth

Business GrowthThe business world is always adapting to changing consumer behavior and varying needs. Competition is growing, consumers are becoming ever-demanding, and more brands are entering the market.

To stay a float, it’s necessary that small businesses achieve more growth this year by employing the right strategies. This means that your ultimate goals should include having a bigger base of loyal customers. Higher rates of customer acquisition, and a productive marketing strategy.

Here are some great approaches to help you achieve business growth.

Set Key Performance Indicators

Start measuring performance via objectively measurable indicators. Whether you’re trying to assess your employees’ performance, marketing campaign, or customer satisfaction, KPIs can take you a long way. It takes the guesswork out of the equation.

It’ll help you measure how close you’re getting to achieving business goals. Another benefit of introducing KPIs to your organization is that you can report them to project shareholders conveniently.

Improve Customer Service

Customers need attention and if you don’t provide it, they’ll find a brand that does. Research proves that customers are growing impatient and frustrated when a brand’s customer service fails to meet the mark.

This year, you need to step up and improve your customer service by implementing live chat systems, updating FAQ pages on your websites, and responding to feedback with customized replies.

Nowadays, consumers prefer to do their own research at their convenience, rather than having to call a customer care rep during normal hours, when they’re busy too. This means that they’ll look up your website, and if they have any queries, the FAQ page is the first place they’ll look. To stay ahead of the competition, upgrade your customer service strategy.

Make User Experience a High Priority

UX is becoming a critical aspect of branding, now that a business’ role is no longer limited to just selling; consumers want to know everything about you. No matter how amazing your product or services are, they aren’t the only things that determine how a customer experiences your brand.

Now, they evaluate everything; whether your website is easily accessible if your customer care representatives respond quickly enough, and if your app is user-friendly. To ensure your customers get the best user experience, you’ll need to optimize your landing page, make your website easy to navigate through, and allow your audience to reach out conveniently. Once you hit the mark with all these aspects, that’s when consumers will start considering your products.

Enhance Your Content and Marketing Strategy

They say ‘Content is king’, but is your strategy up to the mark? Now, businesses don’t just sell services and commodities, and they’re generous with information and content. Consumers love to read about products and your specialty, so rely on your expertise to create engaging content that consumers will love reading.

Sharing knowledge only shows how your brand has the skills to cater to their needs, so it’s beneficial in the long term. Content is a part of your ongoing marketing strategy, and thanks to different social media platforms, you can be more flexible with the kind of content you create.

Develop Collaborations and Partnerships

Partnering with other brands can give you a boost, especially if it’s a company that can complement your services and products. By releasing special edition products, ranges, and combinations, you grasp the audience’s attention and induce the urgency to shop and spend money.

However, your collaborations shouldn’t be limited to releasing new products; you should also make sure to affiliate with influencers to market your brand in a transparent and consumer-friendly way.

Influencers are established experts in the niche, so having them on your side can increase customer engagement.

Take a Risk and Try Expanding

Although it isn’t necessary that your business expands over time, it’s always beneficial to venture beyond your range and enter a different domain. Taking risks is always a part of running a business, so you might as well expand your range of expertise while you’re at it.

If you’re a retail brand, consider releasing your own line of makeup, home decor, or artsy products. All ideas have their own unique charm, but it’s best that you listen to your customers first.

Start by experimenting with a pilot test and analyzing how your audience responds to new products. Based on pilot tests, you’ll know whether a potential business venture will turn out to be profitable or not.

Talk Data

Data analytics are changing the business perspective from a blur to a crystal-clear view. Now, it’s much easier to understand consumer spending habits and trends that are garnering the most attention. Relying on big data to help you make well-informed decisions and investments is no longer just a great option, it’s a necessity.

Deriving trends from numbers and statistics used to be a tiring and cumbersome task, but with the help of analytics and AI, you can get insights far more quickly.

Not to mention, they’ll also be accurate, when compared to insights derived by humans. The best part? Machine learning means that your analytics software will only keep getting better at what it does, so you won’t have an excuse to make a fluke.

Try Drop Shipping Services

Drop shipping is the newest trend for e-commerce websites when it comes to delivering merchandise to their customers. It gives you the benefit of not having to hold onto any stock; any order that your customer makes goes directly from a drop shipper to them.

The product will be complete with your brand’s label and name tag, so it won’t lack customization. In addition, it offers your brand greater flexibility to operate from anywhere.

Conclusion

Some of the best ways that your business can achieve growth by focusing on customer service, marketing, collaborations, and making an impression. While it’s necessary to take one step at a time, you need to be more productive in order to satisfy a demanding audience that is always waiting for something new.

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

5 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Business Operations

Business Operation

Making consistent and regular improvements to enhance your business operations is critical toward its sustainability and success, especially in the end. An inevitable truth regarding business operations is that you cannot stand still and stay competitive. You will either get better or lose valuable ground to your competitors, which is something no business wants.

There is always some room for optimization when it comes to business operations whether you are a veteran business owner or a new entrepreneur. It is vital to remember that fine-tuning your business processes will help your business run more smoothly and efficiently while saving money. This is especially relevant in the end.

You have to know various ways to enhance operations that would work well for your organization. You will be glad to know that streamlining your operations is always achievable.  In addition, even taking a few small and simple steps in specific areas, like productivity, increasing the number of markets you serve and limiting losses could bring you huge rewards.

Here are five surefire ways to improve your business operations.

1. Clearly Define Business Goals and Objectives

Setting clear goals and objectives is a vital element of your business success. Productivity outputs surface from existing business operations; therefore, changing these results requires changing and improving your operations as well as processes them.

This usually starts with developing and defining measurable operational objectives and goals that all critical operational personnel is aware of. Remember that a lack of well-defined objectives and goals will often lead to the failure of your new processes or initiatives, no matter how great these processes or initiatives are.

“Improving operations” is too broad and not a clear goal in and of itself. Taking an approach that is not well-define, or does not include definite measures that need to be employed, is usually a recipe for disaster. You should determine exactly what your objectives are if you want to succeed. For example, does your company need to eliminate inefficiencies in the supply chain, or is the lack of quality systems your primary reason for downfall? Alternatively, perhaps human capital is where the biggest issues lie.

Make sure you have created and defined clear and measurable goals and objectives before introducing any new processes for improvement.

2. Motivate and Inspire Employees

Talented, trained and motivated staff members are likely to bring on huge improvements in the business. Remember that your employees are the ears and eyes of your business operations and their feedback is important. Therefore, if there are any weak spots or flaws in your system and processes, it is likely that your employees will know about them.

In addition, they likely need a better process to complete tasks. That being said, when your personnel thinks you are a “my way or the highway” leader who does not value their feedback, they often are not motivated and inspired to come up with valuable solutions and this will hurt your business.

Involve all your staff in improving your business operations. You should ask your employees where improvements and changes could make. It is equally important to take notes of all the flaws that they point out and solutions they offer.

Always make sure that your staff knows their opinions matter and you are open to their suggestions and recommendations. Maintain a good and positive relationship with your employees and you will enjoy a much higher employee retention rate while fewer resources will spent on hiring and training new employees.

3. Improve your Relationship with Customers

You likely have a customer database. You should take some time to tap into it to get in touch with all of your existing customers. Contact your customers by email, phone or letter to greet them. You should also remind them regularly that your business is ready and willing to serve them again.

In addition, get their opinions and feedback regarding what they think of your products and business in general. Getting regular customer feedback should be an integral part of your business processes. You have continuously looked for new and improved ways to encourage repeat business.

While there is no denying that both marketing and advertising are crucial to get more customers, service, quality as well as customer satisfaction are also vital to keep your business successful. Especially in the end.

4. Leverage Business Intelligence

We all know that information is essential for any business organization that wants to enhance its performance. Better and accurate business intelligence can elicit better results (provided you leverage the data properly). Moreover to this end businesses usually find that state of the art data intelligence software can play a crucial role in improving business processes and operations.

Business intelligence software, particularly at the highest level, allows for the timely tracking of trends and changes that can affect organizational performance. This gives managers, executives and other key decision-makers the relevant information to take suitable corrective action whenever necessary. Moreover, such insight also highlights important information that gives executives and managers what they need to figure out what is and is not working and what should be modified, so they may improve business performance.

5. Cost Cutting Initiatives

There is no denying that this is one aspect where all businesses can stand to benefit considerably from a closer look. Costs can creep up, unproductive practices can become common and waste gets taken for granted over time. Eliminating waste and cutting costs is one of the easiest ways to enhance your business operations while give yourself a competitive advantage.

From ordering shipping supplies in bulk to making double-sided paper copies, you could easily cut down wasted material, time and effort in making, promoting, selling, and delivering your product. As a result, you will see a considerable improvement in your organization’s bottom line.

Final Thoughts

In the end, working hard to improve and tweak business operations is the hallmark of a competitive and dynamic business. In addition, even if your company is current productivity is adequate it is an important end to aim for. You do not have to settle for good when you can have great!

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