Thursday, February 18, 2010

Traditional Business Practices

Online entrepreneurship seems so divorced from the real world at times that we sometimes forget basic tenants of good business practice. By using the same rules that would fit any traditional business, the odds of success are greatly increased. Here are some general rules of business that carry over into the online world:

• Keep overhead low: Overhead for online may not be as steep as a the warehouse or heavy machinery you might find in the “real world,” but content and hosting dig into your bottom line, whether you realize it or not. Shop around and keep the prices as low as possible – never dismiss the costs. This goes hand in hand with the next suggestion…

• Keep good records: Good records help you assess strengths and weaknesses quickly. Calculating earnings and Return on Investment (ROI) is necessary to take your business to the next level.

• Find and keep good staff: If you decide to increase your exposure, both in terms of product and capital investment, you may be contracting out work. Whether it be a web designer or a writer, keeping track of the workers you can trust is essential. Build a reputation with your freelancers and treat them with respect, but don’t tolerate bad work.

• Build a brand: Make sure the customer can identify your product/online real estate with a very specific role or message. By having an easily identifiable message, customers will return to you. If the brand is very successful, you will become associated with you niche immediately, which is immensely valuable.

• Appeal to the customer first: Knowing what your customers want and constantly shaping content and products (not to mention message) around that need will keep you focused and successful.

• Invest in yourself: Once you know you can be profitable, be sure to invest some revenue in ways that will boost the effectiveness of the company. Whether it be a design overhaul or a new marketing campaign, don’t be afraid to roll profits back into a website to help it grow with more revenue.

While an online business may require less time to get off the ground, sound business principles should never be too far from any online entrepreneurs thinkinh. By being mindful of standard business practice, a savvy webmaster can keep their business efficient and profitable.