Online business

An Online Business Can Change Your Life, But You Need It To Make It Happen | by Segun Ojediran, MSc | Sep 2022

What successful online businesses have in common.

Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

A profitable online business can literally change your life. But like any great success, its realization depends on certain factors. Luckily, many of them are under your control.

But before we talk about what these critical success factors are; let’s look at some of the amazing benefits of having an online business, especially today.

For starters, the Internet gives you access to a global marketplace; meaning you can work from anywhere and exchange value with anyone in any part of the world.

Moreover, the cost of running an online business is relatively low. Unlike a brick and mortar store, you can run your business on the internet without having to pay rent and the associated maintenance expenses. There is also the option to automate your business and generate income passively, even while you sleep.

Additionally, the barrier of entry for many online businesses is low, as gatekeepers have been shut out. We can therefore say without being mistaken that the Internet has democratized entrepreneurship.

The internet is now at the center of our daily lives and our online needs are changing day by day. This has led to an increased demand for online solutions.

For example, virtual events have become a must, more and more people are working remotely, and online shopping is reaching new heights. According to McKinsey & Company, online retail sales in the United States jumped 40% year-over-year in 2021.

This increase in online business presents an excellent financial opportunity for entrepreneurs; and with the scalability potential of an online business, the amount of money you can earn is only limited by how far you’re willing to go.

But hang in there; If an online business is so rewarding, why isn’t everyone doing it? How come some have trouble? Why are some of these companies operating at a loss?

If your online activity falls into this category; there is a set of critical success factors that you probably haven’t considered. So whether you are selling a physical product, a digital product or an independent service; there are four things you need to take seriously if you want to build a profitable and sustainable online business.

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. If there are no customers, the business dies.

No matter how awesome your product is, if there aren’t enough people willing to pay for it, it will be very difficult to achieve your business goals.

But I want you to pay attention to two words – sufficient and Pay.

First, you want an industry with a big enough market size, and you want to be realistic about whether or not you can get enough market share to meet your revenue goals.

Second, it’s one thing for people to care about your product, it’s another for them to support it with their money.

So, before you invest your hard-earned money or that of others in a business, you must first establish the demand. You need to make sure there is enough people ready to pay the price that you have defined for your product.

At the heart of every successful business is a compelling offer. Therefore, you should aim to consistently deliver great value to your customers. Your offer includes your product quality, price, payment terms, customer experience, and all other components of your value proposition.

For example, a product at market price, but with free useful add-ons, zero initial cost and a price payable in 12 installments, is very likely to sell faster than the product only, offered at the same price – payable in full at the point of purchase.

As you can see, it’s not just about the price, but about the total package and how it is perceived by your target audience, especially compared to the competition.

Speaking of competition, when you sell online, your competitors are always at your fingertips or a click away; which makes an irresistible offer even more crucial.

Your goal is to make it easy for your target audience to buy your product. As we often say, “Make them an offer they can’t refuse.”

Having a great product is not enough to generate lasting sales. You have to find a way to put your product in front of your target audience.

There are over a billion websites on the internet, and the Amazon marketplace alone has over 6 million sellers; not to mention the more than 4.7 billion social media users worldwide.

As you can imagine, there’s a lot going on on the internet, and your product listing is just a drop in the ocean of internet pages.

To increase your online visibility, you need a solid digital marketing plan, including a practical SEO strategy, where appearing on the first page of search results is a top priority.

Again, if you want your online business to succeed, you have to find a way to get your good product in front of your target customers.

Remember, if they can’t find you, they can’t buy from you.

People buy from those they know, like and trust. It doesn’t matter how compelling your offer is; no one will buy from you if they feel they can’t trust you.

It’s especially difficult when you’re just starting out online. Your potential customers have never purchased from you before, they can’t touch your product, and they don’t even know if they can leave their payment information on your website.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to build your brand’s credibility online.

I. Start on other people’s platforms.

People are more likely to be comfortable buying from you on Amazon, Fiverr, or Upwork than on your website. Indeed, they already trust these platforms. But you can build customer loyalty on these platforms over time and leverage them later on your website.

ii. Build a website that looks believable

Your website design and content should be professional, with a security certificate indicating that it is safe. Also, make sure that the content of each page is free from grammatical errors.

iii. Give free value first

What better way to convince your target customers of the quality of your product than to let them taste it? Plus, when people get something from you, they’re likely to return the gesture. This is called the law of reciprocity.

Giving free value first helps you build credibility and makes people more likely to buy your paid products.

iv. Ask for reviews

Online reviews can make or break your business. A great review posted with your product listing or shared on a social media page with a large audience will do a lot of good for your online credibility.

Of course, it goes without saying that to get a good review, you first have to deliver.