The appeal behind running an online business lies in its flexibility and it's low overhead.
If you can manage to run your entire company from your laptop, then you're not bound to a specific location. You can get clients from all over the world and if you decide to move you don't have to worry about an office location.
Additionally, running an online business requires relatively low overhead. All you have to do is calculate how much money you'd be saving in not having to lease an office and you can see how online businesses can come out ahead.
Lastly, online businesses are easier to scale than ever before. With the ability to contract virtual staff and more software than ever before, you can delegate and automate nearly every aspect of your business.
The last point is especially appealing. If you learn how to leverage tools then you can increase profits and make sure everything is running smoothly. Here are some tools to keep in mind when setting up your online business.
Client Relationship Manager
There are several online CRMs available that can help you and your sales team keep track of leads and close sales.
In my own experience, it wasn't until I got clear on how to use a CRM that I really started seeing any traction in my business. Before setting myself up with an online CRM I was trying to keep track of everything on spreadsheets – and boy was it messy!
By having a space where you can keep track of leads you can better organize your sales process. Additionally, this kind of software helps you measure what's working and what isn't when it comes to your sales funnel. This invaluable information will allow you to adjust things and improve your business.
Some CRMs, like Infusionsoft, also come with e-commerce and email marketing in the same system. While this may not be entirely necessary in the beginning stages of your business, it can be helpful to have everything in one place.
If you plan on selling stuff online you need some sort of e-commerce system. As I previously stated, some CRMs come with e-commerce as a part of the system, however this isn't always the case and it's not entirely necessary to have it set up that way.
The point is you need to have some sort of capability to take online payments and have your goods or services delivered. There are many options here that range from simple Wordpress plugins to all-in-one systems.
An email list is the lifeblood of an online business. It is through email marketing that you collect leads, build relationships and find new customers. That's why it is imperative that you find yourself a good email marketing service as well as an easy way to create lead magnets.
The reason email lists are so important is because they can't be taken from you. You could have thousands of Facebook and Twitter followers, but if these social media channels decide to shut down or the change the rules (as we've seen with Facebook) then you're left with nothing. Meanwhile, if you have an email list you've got those emails for as long as someone stays subscribed.
These are just three of the tools you need when it comes to running an online business. This list is by no means exhaustive so make sure to check out our business service reviews.