Given the changed reality that most of the globe has been facing over the recent year or is more than likely to face as COVID-19 continues to spread, it’s only natural that the appeal of online business is growing day by day. It seems like everyone is either going online with whatever they have been doing or starting an all-new project on the web.
The prospects look bright but, at the same time, daunting to many people. That is why it’s advisable to weigh all the pros and cons before you go into detail, such as finding a printable W9 form as an employer and many more organizational issues associated with e-business. Here are six ways in which going online with your project can be beneficial to give you an optimistic outlook for a start.
1. 24/7 Access
With the web available any time, day or night, an online business can be much easier to manage around the clock than a conventional organization. There’s little to prevent you people from other parts of the world from night shifts if you want to save some money.
Alternatively, smaller or beginner-level limited operations don’t always require much support by the workforce 24/7, which doesn’t necessarily undermine the appeal of unlimited accessibility. Sometimes it’s almost like the business is making money for you while you are resting. This can be especially beneficial during holiday seasons when people tend to stay at home more and will usually opt for no-travel deals.
The above doesn’t only apply to your customers. It also means you can enjoy tailored working hours that fit your lifestyle and priorities best, staying productive without too much strain.
2. Potentially Unlimited Geography
This is essentially an extension of the previous aspect. If you own a brick-and-mortar business, you can still rely on the post and/or web-based information transfer to sell your goods or services abroad. Yet, it typically limits your operation to a more or less local community.
Switching to online would naturally mean less attachment to your physical location, easier and cheaper localization, and a wider appeal with a potential to go global quite effortlessly depending on what you offer.
An online business can work anywhere and, sometimes, more importantly, be operated from any place that has Internet access. With the flexibility offered by the web, you can choose to either put everything on halt while you are on holiday or work part-time when traveling.
3. Flexible Client Service
If you see your audience as diverse, it’s essential that the service you offer meets the needs of each and every group. That would be both challenging and expensive with bricks and mortar, but the web makes diversification a lot easier. Hiring dedicated teams for certain regions or customer groups has never been simpler. The Internet also gives you the advantage of employing people native to the communities you intend to serve.
The customer service also tends to be quicker when it’s web-based. Online queries are easy to notice and keep track of, and answering them usually takes less time than actually meeting a client in person. You could take a proactive approach and make a video presentation of your products and/or services or a conventional FAQ section on your website to answer ubiquitous questions before your staff has to deal with them, too. People who don’t feel comfortable engaging in social interactions find this especially appealing.
4. Reduced Costs
It is widely accepted that pretty much any online organization is cheaper to operate than its brick-and-mortar equivalent. It is true both when setting up a new business and moving online after some time in the physical market.
In cyberspace, you don’t need to rent or buy premises. Transportation costs can be reduced dramatically or eliminated completely, which also applies to your work-from-home staff’s costs.
Most importantly, with sales-based businesses set up on the web, goods can be sold and bought directly. This means you don’t have to face the challenge of renting, managing, and regularly updating a warehouse, also reducing the risk of never selling something you have purchased in advance. This aspect translates to quicker and cheaper sales in general — a big plus for your customers.
5. Simple Transactions
The elimination of intermediate links in the chain makes everything simpler. So does the electronic format, which enables you to cut down on bills and other payment-related documents. Instead, transactions take place online with minimum effort on the part of both parties.
There are many ready-made options that you can use to facilitate payments on your website with due regard to your customers’ preferences. Just like with working hours and customer service, the Internet gives you unprecedented flexibility when it comes to transaction processing. It is also secure, reliable, and time-saving.
6. Little to No Paper Waste
Running a business typically means a lot of paper. From financial records to HR documents to those you send to your customers, everything has to be printed, signed, and sealed in due time, and then you need to keep it somewhere in a place that is readily accessible yet secure in terms of confidentiality.
There is a trend towards reducing paper waste among brick-and-mortar organizations, but the task appears to be much easier if you go online. This also works to reduce the general costs of running your business and makes the operation quicker. Another advantage is that you don’t need to rely on printed marketing materials. Social media can be an effective approach to advertising something that has no physical presence.
Online Is the New Normal
Or is it? Opinions as to whether a non-web-based business is an outdated model differ. However, more and more people are turning to online entrepreneurship as its benefits, such as reduced costs, waste, and complexity, become more obvious. Add the flexibility associated with unlimited Internet access, and you get nearly infinite opportunities. Don’t forget to factor in the possible drawbacks, though — just to make sure the decision you’re making is well-informed.
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