westminster Starting an online business: why you should build an online presence Stacy Reed • November 13, 2017 if( has_post_thumbnail( $post_id ) ): ?> endif; ?> Starting an online business We’re lucky to be part of a generation where we can experiment with business ideas and endeavors with relative ease and minimal start-up capital. The resources available for starting an online business and getting it up and running are abundant. When your business is online there is no need to look for the ideal location within set budget constraints. Much of the start-up stress of setting up a business disappear. That’s part of the magic of building businesses online. It can often be virtually free or much cheaper than opening and operating a traditional bricks and mortar business. Here’s just a few reasons why you should consider starting an online business and how to begin building an online presence. Minimal starting investment It’s a great idea to open a shop online nowadays and skip all the overhead of opening a physical store. Not needing to pay rent for space or compensation for employees helps to mitigate risks and expenses. The other bonus is not having to take on too much debt initially. The capital to get an online business up and running is often minimal. Your home can act as your warehouse and your living room can be your home office. There’s also a variety of free resources that can help you run your business from services like Skype, which will allow you to participate in free international phone calls, to Google Accounts that can help keep you organized, well-coordinated and provide platforms to create content for free. Even messaging services like Whatsapp can allow you to remain in touch with a variety of clients from all over the world. Tons of helpful tools There are a lot of different platforms to help you get your online business started as well. There are tools like Logo Joy, which can create free logos for your brand without the use, and expense, of a graphic designer. There are also websites like Square Space, a service that helps build great websites for those lacking any skills or experience in web design. There are many low-cost and free tools out there to help entrepreneurs open their online business. For instance, there are websites like WordPress and Wix, which help you build a website from scratch. They both offer a multitude of layouts and design options and require no coding or tech skills to get things started. For the most part, these tools are designed for individuals without any website design background. They’re easy to use and deliver a professional, finished product: a feature-rich, customizable website. Also, we’ve written a post to help you select the best domain name for your business, feel free to check it out here. Sell online Selling your wares online creates the opportunity to target a much larger market. Online businesses are not confined to location; you can literally sell a product anywhere in the world using an online selling platform. There are companies that specialize in shipping products all over the world for online businesses as well, such as Stamps and Ship Station. Online businesses can also utilize a variety of online resources to expand marketing campaigns to larger target audiences. Marketing options such as Facebook Ads Manager or Google Adwords can work directly with almost all budgets to help attract new customers. These platforms offer many parameters to choose from, allowing you to focus marketing dollars toward demographics likely to be most interested in your product or service. If you’d like to get a gist of what other successful selling sites are doing, take a peek at our post on the best online selling sites. Social media presence Social media is a powerful resource to help businesses both sell products as well as drive traffic to various platforms. Depending on the nature of your business and your target audience, there are specialized social media options that can help make your business flourish organically. For instance, businesses that want to focus on business-to-business sales may use Instagram or Linkedin to target businesses of interest. If the business is focused on selling crafts, then social media platforms such as Etsy and Pinterest may be great options to help build niche followings and customer bases. Of course, social media giants like Facebook and Twitter can help businesses grow audiences that may be interested in their products or services. These platforms are great ways to generate interest, especially for small home-based companies. Flexibility One of most exciting aspects of running an online business is, hands-down, the flexibility. You can run your business alongside another job, family responsibilities or various other personal commitments. You might also be able to work remotely from home or on the road while you travel. Starting an online business helps to minimize risk and costs. It also creates a great opportunity to pursue your goals under flexible circumstances. The option is always there to build a traditional business, but beginning a trial online may be a great first step into the market. If the business is successful, it may even become a main source of income, which means more personal freedom and independence.