It is a tough would for small to medium sized businesses out there: economic times are hard, credit is almost non-existent and it is do or die for even the most established of businesses.
With that in mind, new opportunities for growth with minimal costs should be the first priority on every small business owner’s list, as they can sure up your bottom line and help you increase profit margins. There are a few things you should know – like the cost of goods sold formula, your sellability, the industry you are trying to foray into, etc. So, where and how can you find opportunities to grow?
Short answer? The Internet.
Here are just some of the reasons why, if you haven’t done so already, you should consider moving at least part of your business online to seize the wealth of opportunities available.
1. The start-up costs are minimal
Perhaps the most attractive thing about move at least part of your business online is that the costs are pretty minimal. Good hosting is easy and cheap to come by, and the start-up costs like designing the website itself can be easily managed. If you are subbing part of your real-world operations for an online operation, it can be even more cost effective and even cost neutral as your trim down the costs associated with brick-and-mortar businesses like office space. With that initial hurdle set so low, there is no reason why you shouldn’t hop on over it and at least try to make a go of having an online part of your business.
2. Internet marketing is less costly and more targeted than regular marketing
Getting the word out there in the real world is exceedingly difficult: print advertising costs are high even though less people are seeing them, and being able to accurately target your most promising demographic is near-on impossible. Internet marketing in contrast is a lot easier to manage, providing a solid return on investment and is far more trackable and simply adjustable than any real-world equivalent. Small business internet marketing can do very well, and by maximising your search rankings and engaging in a well-designed and researched PPC campaign, you can go from an internet nobody to a successful internet businessperson very quickly. All you need is a little determination and perseverance.
3. You don’t need to be an internet whizz to make a profit
The reason that most brick-and-mortar businesses who aren’t online yet have not made the transition is a fear of the unknown: some people assume you need to be an internet whizz to make a profit online. This however is simply not the case. E-commerce in 2013 is open and fair game to anyone, and even the least tech savvy of people can set up a website or get onto a reseller website like Esty or the Amazon Marketplace without too much hassle. Best of all, there is nothing about the internet that you cannot learn ON the internet. Throw yourself in at the deep end, and you’ll see that there are money-making opportunities to be had for even the deepest of technophobes.
4. Social media is your friend
Almost everybody and their grandmothers are using social media nowadays, which makes it perfect for use by businesses. Having a personal link or connection to customers is something that most businesses would trade organs for, and the internet provides that amazing resource completely free of charge. Social media is opportunity at its most finest, because it is a simple way to find the people who need what your business provides-or to let them find you.
5. Staying relevant
If you haven’t yet moved to the web, you are falling behind the times and you simply are not making the most of what the world has to offer. Small businesses are getting stuck in the mud in that respect: when half of small businesses do not have websites, they are condemning themselves to be things of the past. The web isn’t just the future, it’s the present. Get with the times and make sure your business is not one which fails because it does not stay relevant.