4 Tips to Start and Grow Your Online Business
Starting a new business can seem like an impossible task. Fortunately, there are a lot of tools out there to help launch your company right from your computer. From registering for a domain to backing up your data, here's how to start a new business using only the cloud.
Domains and Email
One of the first steps in launching a business is registering for an online domain name. After you decide on a domain name, use it as your business' email address (firstname.lastname@example.org), as it will help your new company appear professional. Tip: Stick to a consistent name format for your employees to make it easier to contact different people in your company (e.g., choose between email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Social Media and Marketing
In order to grow your customer base, you have to market your company and services. The easiest and most effective way to do so is through social media. Not sure which platforms are right for your business? Start with the top social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram. By creating a social media presence on numerous sites, you cast a wide net over a variety of potential customers. If that seems like a lot to manage, utilize a social network management platform to do the work for you. With the help of a social media management platform, you can schedule posts for future publishing, engage with your audience and get an accurate view of how your social media efforts are being received.
Manufacturers and Shippers
As a small business, it's not always in your best interest to have a huge supply of inventory at your disposal. Think about contacting the company that manufactures the product you're selling to see if they are able to drop ship as orders are placed. Drop shipping is a supply chain management solution that ships products from the manufacturer to the customer, cutting out the normal distribution channels. This alleviates the burden of having to purchase stock that you're not sure you'll be able to sell.
If your manufacturer doesn't drop ship, another viable option to avoid physical inventories and fulfillment is to use a shipping company. Shipping companies will handle the fulfillment side of your customers' purchases for you, leaving you to focus on growing your business. One way to find a reliable shipper is to read trade magazines or attend trade shows for your particular industry. Networking with people in your industry will open doors to a plethora of resources.
Backup and Organize Files
No matter what type of business you run, you will need to store and organize your files digitally. Periodically backing up your hard drives and electronic network to a cloud server is not only smart, but necessary. Choose a cloud server that uses high levels of encryption to make sure that no one else can access your information. Keeping your files organized will make it easier to start doing business again without having to decode your back up system.