Whether you’re launching an eCommerce site, starting up an online consulting business or simply moving your business from offline, the possibilities for an online business are almost endless.
Having an internet business also allows you to work from the comfort of your own home with lower overheads and no commuting costs. But you’ll still need some essential items in order to get your internet home business off the ground. Here are some top tips that can help make running a business of any size that little bit easier.
First and foremost you’ll need an actual plan for your business. How are you going to earn revenue and keep your business profitable? Will you sell products? Services? Who will you sell these things to? Even if you’re running a business from your home, you need an official plan in order to be as successful as possible. Setting up a home internet business may be cheaper than other entrepreneurial options. But that doesn’t mean abandoning the basics.
High Speed Internet
If you want to have a business online, it’s a given that you need to be able to do is access the internet. Make sure that your home-based online business is prepared with a strong and reliable connection so that you can manage all of the necessary online tasks. And make sure your internet service is sufficient to allow you to easily upload video and perform other tasks that may be necessary in the daily operation of your business. Have you thought about our fibre broadband?
You also need a good computer that not only allows you to access the internet but lets you store files, load photos and video, run management software or do anything else needed for daily operations. Many of today’s laptops are sophisticated enough to let you run pretty much every aspect of an online business on one machine. And they’re convenient since you can move them around your home or even to the local café if you need a change of scenery.
If you’re going to work on a laptop, then you’ll also likely need a WiFi network in your home. If you only have an Ethernet connection or something that requires you to be plugged in, you could miss out on some of the benefits of having a flexible, home-based business operation — or easily connecting other tools like laptops or printers as your business grows.
Managing finances is an operational necessity for any business. Even if you’re running an online business from your home, you need a way to organise your payments, expenses, invoices and more. Quickbooks, Xero and other tools provide accounting solutions that work for online businesses and many now provide these services in the cloud making it unnecessary to buy any software and easy to upgrade and add capabilities.
Online Payment Service
To actually collect and send payments, you’ll want to use an online service like PayPal. These types of services allow users to transfer and accept money online securely.
Saving files and important documents to the cloud allows you to access them from anywhere. But even if you’re not planning to take your business on the road anytime soon, you can still use cloud storage as a way to securely backup your important files. Cloud storage providers like Dropbox let you save important files or even backup your entire system.
Calendar or Scheduling System
Keeping track of all your various meetings, events and tasks can be hard work. But there are plenty of different programs that can help you keep it all organised. Google Calendar and similar apps let you schedule appointments and even share events with other contacts.
Video Conferencing System
Even if you work from home, you’ll still probably need to be in touch with other team members, clients or partners from time to time. So video conferencing systems like Skype or GoToMeeting can be a big help in letting you have face to face meetings — even if you’re in different towns or countries halfway around the world.
Email Marketing and CRM System
No matter what type of business you run, you’ll need a way to stay in touch with your best customers via email. CRM systems like Infusionsoft let you send emails to your list and even create personalised sequences for different types of customers.
Business Name and Domain
Even if you’re running a business from home, you need an official name and a website. Choose a domain name that’s available and fits with your business name and purchase it from a provider like GoDaddy. You might even want to consider registering your business name officially so that others can’t use it.
Once you have a domain name secured, you also need a hosting provider for your website. Companies like GoDaddy, mentioned above, also provide hosting. Such companies can help you get your website up and running and even provide storage for all the different files you might need.
Social Media Accounts
When you’re working to get the word out about your business, social media can be an incredibly useful tool. Set up accounts on sites like Facebook and Instagram if you’re hoping to reach consumers. Or if you’re looking to get more into the B2B market, try LinkedIn.