In the past, it might have been possible to run a company without a presence online, but it’s quite clear that this is simply no longer a possibility. A presence online is becoming increasingly important for new and old business owners. Startup companies are beginning their life on the market as purely digital enterprises, selling their goods and services through e-commerce platforms.

While older companies are facing pressure to move most of their resources online and a clear example of that is the press. Over the last few years, the media have put more of their funding into online resources, and this has paid off for some more than others. For instance, The Daily Mail has certainly been triumphant with their shift towards a global news site.

It is worth examining the importance of an online presence and why for a new company, it can be useful to focus the main weight of their business model online. We’ll start with one of the clearest advantages.

It’s cheaper

There is no doubt that running your business online is cheaper in the short term and the long term. In the short term, it’s notably less expensive to set up a business online. On average they cost around 9000 whereas setting up a street business can cost anywhere up to thirty. Why is it cheaper? Well, it requires a lower capital investment.

If you set up your business in the real world, you need a business address and various employees for different sections of your company. You also need offline forms of marketing such as television and radio. Despite their diminished importance in a globalized market, they are still considerably more expensive compared to online forms of promotion.

Setting up an online company, you really only need to set up a website and social media profiles. Once you have invested in a platform you have all the building blocks in place to ensure that your company is ready to perform. Of course, there are still costs when you run a company online, but they are arguably far easier to manage. You just don’t have the the same pressure that you do when you’re running a full business address. You also have the added benefit of the possibility of a massive global audience.

Bigger Is better

Sometimes bigger can simply mean better, and that is certainly true when you think about the level of demand and audience size. If you have a larger demand and a greater audience, it’s likely that you’re going to make larger profits and that’s the basic goal of any company.

When you run a business online, you have the chance to appeal to the global audience and sell to them too. There’s no need to set up branches in other countries or even market over there. Instead, you can simply offer them the possibility of buying your products without even pushing a heavier marketing campaign or shifting your focus.

The same can not be true if you’re running a company offline. While you can still gain access to a globalized market, it requires far more effort to gain demand and support. You need to consider the possibility of opening up new branches of your company in other countries and changes your business to match different cultures and ideologies. As such, it’s easier to simply focus on a local audience. Though, by doing this, you are certainly limiting the potential of your company.

Customers expect it

The customer has always been king and determined how you sell or even what you sell. But, it’s arguable that the online networks have increased their power. They can create a buzz online and indirectly change the way a business is run due to negative public reaction. This occurred for Primark when a group of buyers decided that one of the t-shirts they had on sale was offensive. The retailer quickly caved in and took the t-shirt off the shop floor. This is just one piece of evidence of how customers have more say on the market.

One thing they demand today more than anything else is different ways to buy. They don’t want to have to go into a shop to purchase a product. If they can avoid it, they’d much rather not even search on the website. Instead, they want to be directed immediately to where the product they desire is. Or, they would like to buy straight from an app. It’s only logical to assume that if you give customers more ways to buy, you’re going to sell higher levels of profit.

Running your company online gives you the widest number of tools available to ensure that customers can buy however they want, whenever they want. This is another reason why selling and setting up your business online is such a smart decision. All the tools are readily available to you and make it easy to set up a business online. Let’s look at some of the resources that you can use.

Well, you can certainly start by thinking about social media. Social media provides a great platform for new business owners who want to connect with their audience and customers on a more personal level. It allows them to put forward their points of view, ask customers what they want and ensure that customers can see the people behind the company. This is always going to be important on the modern market where customers and clients expect businesses to be almost completely transparent.

As well as this, it provides the possibility of creating a buzz around content and different pieces of information that customers might want to share. This can lead to content going viral and that in turn increases the strength of the business brand online as well as the website authority for the company online.

But social media is just one of the tools at the disposal of the modern online business. We also need to think about the website itself. The website can act as the heart of your company and a jumping off point for any information that you choose to release online.

It’s a space online that customers can use to find fresh information about your business and stay connected. All your social media networks should lead back here, and if they do, you can ensure that business customers from different sources find the main part of your company.

On top of this, there are apps. Again, apps are a way to make your business more open for customers and ensure that clients have different options when they choose how to buy. For retail companies, software such as the EPOS system can provide a fresh point of sale that customers are always demanding on the modern market.

Are there any other tools or services that make operating your business online more beneficial? Actually yes there are. You can make sure that you are using outsourcing services online to limit the costs for your company. You can outsource various sections of your business to online companies.

You can do this with everything from IT support and security to HR and employee management. Although, you do have to be careful not to use an inferior service and damage the reputation of your business. This could ultimately lead to catastrophic results.

Disadvantages?

You might think that it’s all sunshine and roses when you choose to operate a business online, but that’s not quite true. There are many problems that you could have. For instance, you might find that you are unable to stay ahead of the immense competition that you fence online.

Don’t forget that only around 3 percent of online startups actually succeed on the market. The rest are taken down by the more popular competitors that claim most of the market. You certainly shouldn’t expect to find a demand, simply because you are marketing towards an online business. There are hundreds of dead sites online.

You also have to be careful that your eyes don’t grow larger than your stomach. When you operate a business online, it’s easy to get ahead of yourself, jumping at the chance to reach for a larger audience. You have to be careful that you don’t try and grow your business too quickly. Even online, it can be easy for costs to grow greater than a business can handle.

Finally, you need to think about whether your business is set up in a way where it can survive online. There are companies and local service businesses that might be better off focusing their efforts away from the online realm. Since they rely on local audiences, it makes very little sense to market in a space where they are competing against global companies. Though it will still help if they have a brand that local audiences can find online.

So while there are some businesses that won’t entirely benefit from the online model, these are in the minority. And over the next few years, we can definitely expect these companies to deplete further in numbers. As such, it’s time for businesses to get online or get out of the way.