The number of companies that have turned their models to the internet has understandably skyrocketed over the past year. If you’re one of those people who have decided either to start an online business or who have switched from a brick-and-mortar location to a virtual one, here are some tips to help you transition successfully into the new online stage of your business’s life.
- Remember That Your Employees Are Still #1
Unless your business is in its very early stages, you will likely have employees. You need to remember that they are your company’s number one priority. It’s easy when you’re using remote work to relegate your employees to the abstract virtual realm, but not treating them as attentively as you would if they were in a physical location with you can have serious impacts on your productivity. Consider using a coworking space that has offices nationwide, such as Office Evolution, as you will be able to enhance your remote workers’ productivity by giving them an office of their own wherever they’re situated in the country.
- Keep Your Records Safe
You have a legal obligation to keep all customer records safe. This is a lot easier with a brick-and-mortar location, but when you’re running your business completely online, you need to store information on separate devices, preferably strongly encrypted with a number of backups. Remember that over 40% of hacks target SMEs, so if you are found to have not protected your customers’ data, you may be liable.
- Fight for Your Online Brand Reputation
When you’re completely online, your branding is extra important. Many people who follow a lean start-up model don’t put as much weight on branding as they should, believing it to be less important than getting their product right. Well, the premise of the lean philosophy is to make sure your product is one that people actually want. By ignoring the intangible value of your product (including the brand value), you’re missing out on growth and customer loyalty opportunities.
Spend a lot of time exploring your brand (maybe even choose an archetype). Once you’ve got a well-developed brand, control the image by setting up a Google Alerts notification that will keep track of any mention of your brand online.
- Spend Money on Your Internet
One of the most infuriating aspects of an online business is a slow internet speed when you’re trying to get connected online. This isn’t just annoying; it can be devastating when you’re running your whole business online. If you’re doing that, you’re saving a lot of money on overheads, so just make sure you invest enough into your internet connection rather than just picking a cheap package.
- Scrutinize Your Competitors
You should know who your competitors are, but you should also scrutinize their strategy. Monitor their social media presence. Do you think they’re targeting the right channels? What about their posts? Are they posting too frequently or too infrequently? Scrutinizing your competitors in this way will not only mean that you don’t get caught out, but you will also detect any strategic holes that you can pounce upon.