With the world’s economy looking at another financial crisis and a period of recession, the job market is going to become an unstable environment.
There’s a massive list that might affect an employee for the worse, from wage reduction, to outright losing their job.
Luckily, there is a way out. Talented people who wish to work are embracing freelance work, upping the gig economy’s viability, or outright starting their own small businesses.
There are plenty of options out there to help people become financially independent. All it takes is one great online business idea. But you might be wondering, is today a good time to start an online business of your own?
Well, there are plenty of advantages that come with being your own boss. To start with, you do not dread a termination letter from anyone. You get to make all the decisions yourself, choose your working hours, choose the people to work with, and above all, venture into something you love.
You also do not have a fixed earning. Ideally, the harder you work, the more income you get. Now, if you are thinking of setting up an online business, research on the best ideas and settle on one that fits you.
You need to understand the pros and cons of starting this type of business so that you are fully prepared for what awaits you ahead.
I have explained a few pros and cons of starting an online business, which I have learned in my eight years of experience running my online store. Please have a look at them.
Pros of Starting an Online Business
Let’s start with all the positive aspects you’ll be experiencing as an online business owner.
No Time Restrictions
An online business gives you the freedom to choose your schedule. You have all the 24 hours at your disposal, and you can choose to spread your work throughout the hours or work at certain times.
This is the part that I love most about my online shop. I personally love working in the silence of the night, and so I do most of the critical tasks at night.
A brick and mortar shop does not give you such privileges. You have to typically follow the 9 to 5 schedule that most businesses follow.
With an internet connection, a laptop, business apps, and other technologies, you can access your online business from any part of the world. This is not the case with a brick and motor shop where you must go to the physical location if you intend to do any business.
It is essential, however, to note that this freedom comes at a cost. Do not spend too much time having fun and forget that you are solely responsible for the success of your online business!
Low Startup Costs
It is easier to start an online business compared to a traditional office-based company. For an online business, the initial starting investment you truly need is a domain name and web hosting.
It is way cheaper than leasing and maintaining physical premises, and a lot simpler when compared to looking up start up costs and financing for a physical business.
Also, most of the work in an online business is carried out automatically. You do not need as many employees as you could in a physical shop.
For example, you don’t need to hire a salesperson who will explain the products and the use to customers. Visitors can always read the product descriptions by themselves. Like in my case, I have cut down on human labor by more than half compared to if I had a physical location.
You also don’t need to carry much inventory, especially if you own or work for an internet retailer. A traditional office requires you to pay rent, labor, buy fixtures, pay bills like water, and meet many other expenses.
Greater Brand Exposure
The internet is a global market. There are so many people doing online searches for products and services every passing minute. Getting your brand online allows you to market your products to all these people.
You only need to come up with good digital marketing and advertising strategies. You also have free access to online tools that you can use to reach more customers.
Traditional retailers typically have an audience a radius from their business location. Depending on what you sell, though, you could be receiving customers out of your locality, but this is nothing compared to selling online.
Additionally, if you’re interested in selling services, you have hundreds of freelancing websites ready to help you find work, like UpWork.
More Sales Through Happy Customers
An online business gives you a rare opportunity to make more sales through happy clients. If you post your clients’ testimonials like me, new customers will read them hence learning more about your products and increasing their trust in them.
Visitors can also read reviews and view ratings from happy customers. All these play a significant role in their decision to buy your products. A traditional office-based company relies on word of mouth for references, which is limited to a locality compared to online reviews, testimonials, and ratings accessible to millions of potential clients online.
Cons of Starting an Online Business
Running an online business does require growing pains, however. With that in mind, let’s cover some of the factors that make life more difficult for online business owners.
Security and Fraud
Cybercrime is a serious threat to online businesses. Attackers typically attack businesses for direct financial gains, sabotage, or to disrupt the operations. To protect yourself you need to know the many different kinds of threats, like business email compromise (BEC) attacks, man in the middle attacks, and others.
You can learn more about potential cybercrime risks front his informative study provided by CyberEdge.
Before you start an online store, you need to be aware of such attacks and be prepared to handle them in case they happen. It could be best trying to gain customers’ trust if you want them to make any purchases from your store.
The internet is a global market. This means anybody from any part of the world can set their online store and sell. As such, chances are, you are not the only one in that niche.
Therefore, you need to strive to be on the first SERPs or lose clients to a myriad of competitors. This will require investing in SEO and other marketing strategies.
You must understand how to advertise your business to gain brand visibility. I realized that most shoppers search for products without considering the retailer.
This is a significant advantage to new companies because they can purchase from you if they feel you are offering a good deal.
Traditional retailers also face competition, but this comes just from their local markets, unlike the online competition from both domestic and international markets.
No Personal Contact with Clients.
An online business does not give you a chance to meet with potential clients. When your sales staff physically meet with clients in stores, they have a unique opportunity to interact with them better, explain the advantages of purchasing your products more broadly, and settle any fears they may have.
The customers can also hold the product, practice using it, and enjoy more privileges before purchasing. Consequently, this increases the chances of making sales.
Some customers also prefer face-to-face interaction when making certain purchases. For example, ladies love to walk into fashion stores and fit a few clothes and shoes before making a purchase.
That mean’s you’ll need to put in more work to figure out who your target customers are, and what encourages them to convert, as you’ll be lacking that crucial interaction that greatly helps to make a sale in person.
The increase in online purchases has led to a massive transition of brick and motor stores to e-stores. Increasingly, more people now want to shop online from the comfort of their homes. It less demanding and, above all save time.
Customers can shop 24/7, which is a whole new shopping experience. Before settling on any online business, it is vital to consider your interests and skills.
Pursing a business that you are passionate about is more relaxed and enjoyable. You can also make it to the highest levels compared to a business you care less about. Also, look at the market demand, your budget, and how much time you have.