You don’t have to run your entire business over the internet to benefit from online business opportunities. Small businesses might only need an email address to communicate with their clients, customers and suppliers electronically. Other businesses might use their website to conduct their entire business online.
The many benefits of online business include:
- global access, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- improved client service through greater flexibility
- cost savings
- faster delivery of products
- increased professionalism
- less paper waste
- opportunities to manage your business from anywhere in the world.
Customers may prefer to visit your website to find out about your products and services, instead of visiting you in person. They will also expect to see your website address and your email on business cards and other promotional materials.
Online business opportunities
How you manage your business online will depend on the products or services you offer. You may be able to use the internet to:
- run an online shop
- manage your suppliers
- communicate with your customers, and get their feedback on your business
- offer services online
- allow customers to make reservations or appointments online
- manage your finances, such as online banking, tax and employee pay
- research competitors.
Keep in mind that your business, as well as the variety of online tools available, is constantly changing and evolving. While you might not plan to have a website immediately when you start operating, it’s still a good idea to think about whether you will need one at a later date and what you will use it for.
When you are planning the online aspects of your business, you should:
- research your competitors and other businesses that use online tools
- decide what aspects of online business will benefit your business
- review your budget to work out what you can afford
- familiarize yourself with any laws and regulations that will apply to your online business activities
- consider your requirements, including what software you need and what types of computer equipment you need to run it
- plan for risks, such as computer viruses, scams, data theft and loss of or damage to hardware
- think about what training you or your staff might need
- be realistic about the time and budget you will need to manage the online aspects of your business.