As we embrace technological advances, our ways of running business are also changing. The Internet is one of the most impactful enablers for people who wish to become entrepreneurs without risking a lot of money.
Online home business owners can avail various advantages from their ventures, like eliminating overhead costs related to operating from a traditional office space, reducing travel costs, and enjoying the flexibility of working at their own convenience. Despite these benefits, Internet-based enterprises involve several problematic facets that need to be handled with utmost seriousness.
Starting an Internet Home Business
Read on to know about the four most prevalent challenges that may arise when starting an Internet-based home business:
1. Managing Leads
Among the basic requirements of every small business is the need for generating leads on a regular basis. Be aware that not all website visitors are always going to purchase your product/service the first time they surf your business website. In business parlance, a sales lead is a prospective customer of a product/service, and such an opportunity is created when an individual or a business shows interest in future purchasing.
Numbers state that in 2016, over 88% of Americans used the Internet for various purposes, including purchasing products/services. This shows the scope of finding sales leads on this platform.
Leverage this resource pool to find quality sales leads for your business. Remember, you must actively engage with your leads than merely send notifications to social media followers.
In most scenarios, leads provide contact information for you to follow up. You can generate leads in several ways, and among the most commonly used methods is sharing relevant content that can be freely accessed in exchange for contact information. Use this opportunity to communicate with them about your latest offerings.
Collate contact information from leads and initiate conversations that will kick off personal relationships with your company. The more informative your company’s content is, the greater the chances of leads becoming your customers and investing in your products/services.
Converting leads into sales is one of the key challenges faced by small businesses that operate online. Your brand’s identity should reflect values of credibility, reliability and uniqueness. Establish yourself as an industry expert among your target audience to enjoy inbound marketing and greater sales.
Today’s customers are not keen on simply buying products or services without knowing much about them. In fact, they are using the Internet to learn something new and relevant that can add to their knowledge.
Bridge this gap between your customer and the information they are looking for, and they will eventually consider you as an authority and value your business enough to invest in your products/services.
2. Issues Related to Copyrights
With the Internet becoming increasingly accessible, the chances of facing copyright infringements are increasing at an alarming pace. A copyright protects the creator of a unique entity that can be in the form of literary, artistic, dramatic, musical works, computer programs, sound recording and communication signals. Further, it is only the owner of the said copyright who enjoys the right to produce or reproduce the work or permit another entity to do so.
Even though you are running an online business within the periphery of your house, you need to abide by a set of uniform copyright laws for small businesses that are applicable in the United States. For an entrepreneur who has established a profitable business based on a unique proposition, it becomes even more important to copyright the work and prevent others from copying your business model.
3. Privacy and Security Concerns
You need to take measures like setting up a secure payment page for customer transactions right at the initial stage of establishing an online business. You never know when your online business may be susceptible to the malicious practices of individuals who hack your system and steal your customers’ private information. You need to establish security measures that stop hackers from draining your customers’ bank accounts or stealing their identity.
Jurisdictions in most countries have privacy legislations that make it mandatory for online businesses to notify people before collecting their personal information. In the United States, most states don’t follow a stringent privacy law for data collected from users and website visitors by Internet-based businesses, but the California state legislation covers online privacy under the California Online Privacy Protection Act (OPPA). As per this Act, you need to disclose:
- all information collected by your website or online marketing tools
- ways of sharing the collected information
- the reviewing process that can be used by customers to change the information collected by your website
So, if your business is based in the United States or caters to people online in the US, you should ensure that you comply with this law.
4. Keeping up with Technology
For entrepreneurs primarily relying on the Internet to do business, it becomes imperative to possess more than just the elementary knowledge of the digital world. You should have necessary skills related to setting up a website for business purposes and marketing the business online. Not knowing these two basic processes can mean that you may have to outsource them to an Internet marketing company. This will only add to your expenses.
Technology evolves rapidly, and you need to be an agile entrepreneur to keep up with the pace, or risk losing out on making a profit. Stay abreast of the latest technology trends that can boost your company’s performance. For instance, you can opt for project management and task management tools that can prioritize your daily business responsibilities and increase your efficiency.
A multitude of digital marketing tools are available that can increase your brand’s visibility among your target audience. Decide which tools will benefit your website the most. You can even hire search engine and content development professionals to boost website traffic. Implementing new technology will help drive more people into your business, and give you a huge strategic advantage over your competitors.
Regardless of how vigilant you are with your Internet-based home business, there may be challenges that can arise unannounced. You should cover all your bases right from the start so that you can reduce the initial hiccups of establishing a business.
The above tips will help you anticipate potential problems that affect online businesses and prepare you to mitigate them effectively.