As many as 71% of small businesses now have an online presence of some form or another with many operating solely in the digital domain. The year on year uptick in online business activity is indicative of how accessible it has become to start your own venture online – providing you have access to the right tools.
Due in part to the prevalence of online business startups, there is no shortage to the number of powerful and effective tools designed to take the pressure off sole traders who would otherwise be responsible for every aspect of their enterprise.
Why Do People Choose To Trade Online?
- Reach – the internet grants businesses access to a market far bigger than the town or city they are local to. This can be the difference between failure and success, especially to those operating in a niche market.
- Freedom – an online operation can be liberating in terms of where you live and how much time you wish to dedicate to it. The digital nomad revolution sees thousands of people set free from business premises and working remotely all across the globe.
- Inexpensive – depending on which country you are operating from it can be inexpensive and straightforward to set up your own online business.
Web Hosting Services
Not all online businesses require a website and domain name but there are few that wouldn’t benefit from having some online presence where potential clients and customers can navigate to and learn what your business is about. Many successful online ventures have simply offered an online equivalent to an already successful real world industry.
Bluehost is a great option that comes with several perks and advantages. It synergises particularly well with WordPress built websites, offers a free domain for the first year and 24/7 live support so you can iron out any problems immediately without sacrificing sales. And with an optional add-on called Blue Sky, your website will receive SEO (search engine optimisation) and mobile device optimisation. Though small businesses needs of web hosting are different than those of internet giants offering high traffic for niches like iGaming, specifically casinos or a poker website.
If your business sells and ships physical products, the number one e-commerce website platform to consider is Shopify. More than a million businesses across 175 countries trust the provider to manage and host all aspects of their commerce.
The first layer of their service deals with turning your business idea into a flesh and bones online business: templates for your store, a streamlined checkout process, and tools for marketing and to sell in different places. As your business grows, Shopify has a range of apps and services to further develop your brand and personalise your store.
If you employ people in your business or if you often collaborate with other entrepreneurs, there are a series of services available to ease the facilitation of that process. Slack and Zoom are popular messaging website options but the recently overhauled Google Workspace and Google Chat (previously G Suite and Google Hangouts) has you covered.
A Google Workspace plan could be what your business needs with custom business email addresses, video conferencing and digital whiteboarding among hundreds of collaborators at any one time and cloud storage as well as Google’s shared calendars, documents and notes. There are pricing plans for businesses of all sizes which allow the meeting of minds across different rooms of the same house or even different continents.
As an online business owner, you can find yourself wearing many different hats; one day you’re head of a marketing website and the next you’re dealing with HR issues in the morning and brainstorming design ideas in the afternoon. Delegating some of these tasks to specialised bodies allows you to focus on the areas where you’re most effective.
Freshbooks features an impressive array of accounting functions. Professional looking invoices can be created in seconds, time and expense tracking and managing projects make it easy for your team and clients to stay in the loop and in depth reports keep you informed on your business health and performance.
Customer Relationship Management is so important that it has been given its own acronym. CRM systems provide a central hub for businesses to manage and track all customer data and relationships.
Salesforce is the leading name in CRM software and helps hundreds of thousands of customers to close more deals, keep customers happy and sell faster and smarter. Lead management, forecasting tools and process automation streamline your customer relationships and ultimately increase your bottom line.
Social media is a powerful tool in the modern business arsenal and one that shouldn’t be overlooked regardless of size. There are few more effective ways to reach a large number of potential customers in a targeted way that ensures they fit your demographic.
Hootsuite is a social media management platform that puts all the tools necessary to help you make more engaging content for your business. Track relevant trends, plan and schedule your output and post across all platforms simultaneously with one of Hootsuite’s professional plans.
Starting a business has always required dedication and hard work but thankfully there are more tools available than ever before to help you succeed. The platforms on this list are designed to take the headache out of running your online business and let your product or service shine.
In order to keep your online business up and running effectively, you can keep track of everything through management tools.