The ultimate entrepreneurial dream is to start a business and watch it flourish. However, there are always growing pains involved right from the first step when you create an online store or even down the years when sales outgrow your normal shipping and receiving pace. Managing your online business doesn’t require advanced thinking, but creativity and using resources intelligently will get you to higher profits and customer exposure.
Keep in Constant Contact
Communicating with your customers is crucial in any business, but online conversations are much more varied than face-to-face types. Be a constant reader of your social media accounts, email addresses and blogs. If any customers comment or ask questions of your company, they must have a response. Without this frequent contact, customers will eventually busy themselves with another business that pays attention to their online conversations. Familiarity and constant communication usually translate into sales.
Utilize Third-Party Services
There comes a time when you might feel overwhelmed by all the work involved with your website. Consider hiring a third-party resource, such as call center services, to answer your phone calls and even deal with accounting issues. You may not be able to hire on physical personnel, but these service centers create an extension of your workforce without traditional hiring processes. Customers won’t notice a difference in their experience with your company except for a more expedited experience.
Don’t Promise the World
It’s easy to get caught up in a sale and promise something that can’t be provided, such as same-day shipping across the nation. Customers become more frustrated if you guarantee a service and don’t pull through. It’s better to be honest and promise the best you can truly do. Savvy customers will appreciate your honesty and possibly return for more products or services in the future.
Drop Shipping Possibilities
Your product could be selling like wildfire, but physically shipping the items is becoming a full-time job. Speak to your supplier about drop-ship possibilities. Instead of products being shipped to you and then sent to direct customers, the suppliers could simply send the products directly to the client. You still receive credit for the sale while reducing shipping costs for customers.
Invest in the Business
If your online business is growing at a steady pace, you’ll have to consider hiring a person to help you out. Although payroll is expensive for any business, it eventually pays off with higher profits across the board. Investing in your business gives you a chance to service more people at a faster rate. Customers will notice the difference and recommend your website to friends and family. As you add more employees, the larger you can theoretically grow.
Always be aware of any online conversation about your business, even if it’s just a few sentences. Search for your business among forums and review sites to see if customers are speaking positively or negatively about the business. Although you can’t remove most conversations from a website, you can always respond in a positive manner to resolve any issues. Your attention to detail could change their mind about your reputation.