The advances on the Internet have given people more than just the ability to connect with their loved ones and upload their best photos. It has also helped modern entrepreneurs reach a wider audience by providing many opportunities that weren’t possible decades ago.
Though you may have just started your business, you can compete with established enterprises by participating in the online world.
The corporate landscape has evolved through the years, so today, you can take advantage of the many Internet tools, plugins, features, widgets, and apps that can help ensure business success.
More importantly, you can invest in a business phone plan or data bundle so you can monitor your company while you’re on the go.
If you’re not sure whether you’re maximizing the Internet yet, here are eight reasons to integrate essential online elements into your business operations.
1. Inexpensive start-up cost
Starting a business has become more affordable and straightforward. The Internet allows anyone to create a fan page or website where you can sell items without opening a brick-and-mortar shop or office.
With your laptop, reliable Internet access, and a few mouse clicks, you can start your apparel store, bakeshop, hardware, or bookstore right within the comfort of your home.
2. Simplified market research
The Internet makes it a lot easier for you to test if your business idea is feasible and profitable.
Developing the best business and marketing plan involves being aware of several important things like current consumer demand, distribution costs, etc. Though you can use offline methods for doing market research, these approaches are often time-consuming and expensive.
But with the Internet, there are easy-to-use, inexpensive, accurate research tools that can help you with data collection, price setting, competitive analysis, and product development. These include keyword research tools, online surveys, customer feedback and reviews, and social media.
You can perform market research to know and understand the demand for specific products and services. There are also tools to monitor website traffic in real time, user behavior and collect consumer data.
If not, you can hire freelancers to perform market research online or partner with companies specializing in market research. This way, you can focus on promoting your business and increasing profits.
3. Expedite supplier research
The Internet is a valuable source for service providers, distributors/suppliers, and wholesalers of everything you’ll need to get your business started. It provides you with the opportunity to find the best yet affordable providers with little hassle.
You don’t have to drive around to scout for the right suppliers. You just have to do an online search, check each company’s profile and offers, and read customer reviews to narrow down your options.
But before deciding on which company to partner with, visit their office or meet with the owner or key personnel first to make sure that they are legit and comfortable to work with. If in-person conversations are not possible, take advantage of your mobile voice bundle subscription – and talk about all essential details through a phone call.
4. Convenient work outsourcing
To ensure success, outsourcing some business tasks may be necessary, especially if you don’t know how certain jobs should be done.
For instance, you can outsource the conceptualization and design of your flyers, streamers, posters, and brochures that you can upload on your website or use offline to promote your company.
Moreover, you can hire remote experts who offer a wide range of vital services to get your online business started and keep it running smoothly, including programming and logo-making. Great places to begin your search are local sites and online job platforms.
5. Smart marketing
The Internet provides plenty of high-quality platforms where you can market your business, gain loyal clients, build trust, and boost work productivity. These include social media marketing, search engine optimization, and content marketing. Digital marketing allows you to sell your products and services in any targeted location and even overseas.
To further boost your marketing efforts, take advantage of the benefits of mobile marketing. Take note that consumers today spend many hours on their mobile devices, allowing you to grab their attention and get them to discuss your brand. They also use their tablets and smartphones to buy products from ecommerce platforms or online stores.
With that said, you need to make your site mobile-friendly and create integrated mobile campaigns that will guide potential clients from product launch through to the sale process.
Digital marketing is continually evolving. The shift towards lighter, smaller, and portable gadgets plays a crucial role in such a strategy. As an entrepreneur, you must develop a cohesive mobile marketing plan to reach and transact with those digital consumers.
6. 24/7 business accessibility
The Internet works 24/7, and people use it worldwide, depending on their time. Indeed, companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google have become successful because they are open to everyone 24 hours a day.
By creating a website, you can sell products and receive inquiries 24/7.
You can also maintain a corporate blog to give users from all around the world access to your content anytime. All of these are not possible with an offline business because whenever your brick and mortar shop or office is closed, your business ceases to operate.
But today, you can promote your products, entertain inquiries, manage inventories, receive orders, and accept payments anytime and anywhere across the world.
Best of all, you can provide 24/7 customer support. Using a chat plugin on your website or social media pages can help solve customer problems without the need to visit your business address. They just have to inform you about their complaints on your site or pages, and then you can respond or provide solutions in real-time.
7. Efficient cloud storage
Storing your business data online will allow you to secure, manage, access and share corporate information with the right people anywhere across the world from any device.
Google Drive is an excellent example of a reliable cloud storage technology. This allows you to keep and share business data and information. Under Google Drive, you can also use different applications like Google Sheets, Google Docs, Google Forms, Google My Maps, and Google Drawings.
Other cloud storage applications you can use include Dropbox, Spider Oak, and One Drive.
With cloud storage, you can collaborate with any of your staff. It allows your employees to share and edit documents, software, photos, and other files while working on specific projects. At the same time, you can restrict unauthorized people from gaining access.
8. Faster data analysis
Knowing how your business is doing requires the use of reliable business data and analytics tools. An online data analytics tool will help you monitor past and present business performance as well as make future decisions based on data or reliable information.
A data analytics tool gathers and analyzes customer data, buying habits, customer behavior, and marketing results. This way, you will know what parts of your website are most visited by users, which search phrases are used repeatedly when looking for your products, which demographic is engaging with your content the most, and how you can improve your sales funnel.
Indeed, the Internet is essential for the survival and success of all entrepreneurs.
Start maximizing these online opportunities now and use tried-and-proven tools and strategies so you can have a competitive edge over most established offline companies.
Altaf Ladak is the Deputy CEO at Roshan (Telecom Development Company Afghanistan), Afghanistan’s leading total communications provider, which covers all 34 provinces with over 6.5 million active subscribers and has a deep commitment to the country’s reconstruction and development. Roshan is a true Afghanistan success story, actively contributing to the country’s long-term development with more than $750 million invested in Afghanistan.