Small business ownership is a challenging yet hugely rewarding endeavor. A small business is also highly competitive and risky, with one in five small businesses folding after only a year and only 50% still trading after five years. These are humbling figures when you start your own business, but you can mitigate these risks with smart business practice.
One of the top reasons for small business failure is not being a strong competitor in your chosen market. To succeed, you'll need to make sure that your competition doesn’t constantly overshadow you, making you miss out on sales and customers consistently.
Mastering the world of online commerce is one of the most effective ways to be a solid competitor in your chosen market. Many small business owners don't put enough time and money into this facet of their business — to their extreme detriment. If you want to create a competitive, successful, and growing small business, here are four online commerce areas that you'll need to master.
1. Your Website
In this day and age, running a successful business without a website is nearly impossible. However, the simple act of having a website won't be enough to give you a competitive edge. You need a professional, comprehensive, and appealing website that will make visitors confident in your brand and your products or services.
Think of your website as a virtual version of physical premises. This means that first impressions last, and a poorly constructed, clunky, and difficult-to-navigate website will turn visitors away in droves. If you don't have the technical skills needed to build a great website yourself, get a professional to do it for you.
2. Your Social Media Presence
If you're not a social media fan, then you might underestimate just how vital having a strong social media presence is for a successful small business. When you consider that Facebook alone has over 2 billion users every month, not utilizing the power social media has to connect you to existing and potential customers is crazy.
Most large businesses have dedicated social media teams to tap into this valuable resource. While this isn't always a feasible option for a small business, devoting some time and resources to this aspect of your business is important. If you don't have the know-how or the time to do this yourself, outsource it to a skilled professional who understands the nuances of a successful social media presence.
3. Your Blog
This point may have you scratching your head and thinking what blog? Or you may have a blog, but it only has sporadic posts that are limited in size and valuable content. If either of these two scenarios is the case, then you're doing your business a serious disservice. People increasingly consider a great blog an essential part of creating a competitive and successful small business.
Several reasons exist for why blogs are such an asset for businesses. Blogs help to bring more traffic to your site via both search engines and your social media pages. Blogs also help to establish you as an authority in your industry that will give your clients and customers confidence in your service or product.
Perhaps most importantly, your blog is a great way to get the personality of your brand across to the public. Blog posts can be fun and playful as well as providing relevant, timely, and fresh information on your industry.
However, for a blog to provide all of these advantages, it needs to be well-written and you need to update it regularly. If you're don’t have the time or writing skills to pull this off, finding a writer to produce blog posts for you is a smart decision.
4. Your Mailing List
Last, but certainly not least, on your must-have online commerce checklist, is an excellent mailing list. You may already have the beginnings of this, or you may not have a mailing list at all. Either way, developing one should be a top priority if you want your small business to be a formidable competitor in your industry.
Mailing lists provide you with a unique opportunity for existing and prospective clients and customers to see you directly. Unlike social media, which is at the whim of algorithms that change on a regular basis, emails take you directly to the inbox of each person on your mailing list.
Generating a healthy mailing list directly links to your website, your blog, and your social media presence. All three of these can help grow your mailing list if you have the right systems set up to encourage visitors to sign up.
Mastering these four essential aspects of online commerce can make a massive difference to the growth and sustainability of your small business, but neglecting them is easy due to lack of time or simply not having the skills or knowledge to do it yourself.At Uassist.ME, we have a team of professional workers who can handle every facet of online commerce for you. Contact us if you'd like to find out more about how we can help your small business to thrive.