Digital entrepreneurship had been on the rise for a number of years prior to the pandemic, but it has since exploded in popularity, with a huge amount of people launching their own business ventures entirely online. The pandemic has led many people to reflect on their life and work while others might have lost their job or looked to supplement their income, and digital entrepreneurship can certainly be a great way to make a living, particularly during COVID-19. Starting and running a business entirely online has many obvious perks, but it is important to be aware that it does also pose unique challenges along with many regular business challenges too. Read on for a few tips that will hopefully help you to find success with your digital venture.
Earn with Online MBA Programs
First, it is a good idea to research and find online MBA programs to study either before or while you start your digital business. It is naive to think that running an online business does not require business skills and knowledge that can be developed through online MBA programs. Online MBA programs will teach you to lead a business strategically and ethically and refine key skills such as critical thinking and situational agility. On top of this, online MBA programs allow you to complete your qualification entirely online, so it can be easier to fit online MBA programs into your schedule.
Conduct Thorough Market Research
Many people make the mistake of thinking that a digital business does not need to be treated like a regular business and that you can skip many of the key steps involved, such as market research. This is a critical step in starting any business venture, and the flurry of new online businesses means that many sectors have become incredibly competitive over the last year or so. You need to take your time with market research to determine the state of the industry, the strengths and weak-ness of your competitors, who the industry leaders are, and as much information about your target customer as possible.
Develop a Detailed Business Plan
Leading on from this, it is also important that you develop a detailed business plan for your company no matter what industry you are entering. A business plan will be helpful in terms of outlining your ambitions and what steps you can take to achieve your goals and guide you during the challenging early days. Without a business plan, you might find yourself lost after a few months, and you could also find it hard to secure funding if necessary.
Secure Sufficient Funding
Speaking of funding, one of the main perks of a digital business venture is that typically the costs will be much lower, and you can often run the business from your own home. While the costs are usually much lower, it is likely that there will still be some startup and ongoing costs to cover, such as online MBA programs, equipment, software, stock, supplies, and wages. This is why you might need to secure funding for your business venture, and there are lots of different ways that you can do this:
- Bank loans
Separate Your Finances
Another common mistake that is made when it comes to digital entrepreneurship is not keeping your business and personal accounts separate. It might not seem a major issue when you have fewer expenses, but it can make it incredibly hard to keep on top of your finances and could make completing a tax return even more stressful than it already is. Additionally, when you keep finances separate, it will stop you from using one for the other, which will hopefully help you maintain good business and personal financial health.
Keep on Top of Bookkeeping
In terms of your business accounts, it is vital that you keep on top of these and have a clear system in place from day one, whether you use accounting software or outsource to an accountant. It is typically easier to keep on top of accounts when it is an online business, but you still need to make this a priority. This is important for obvious legal and taxation reasons and so that you can get a good overview of your business’s financial health and regularly look for ways to make savings to improve your bottom line.
Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
As with any new business venture, it is a good idea to make sure that you are not putting all of your eggs in one basket in terms of your income. It can take a long time for money to start coming in with a new business, and although costs are often lower, it can still take some time to earn a decent income. This is why many people start an online business as a way to supplement their main source of income until they can make the switch to full-time or look into alternative passive income streams while they build and study one of the many online MBA programs available.
Build Up Savings
Following this, it is also a good idea to build up savings that you can fall back on if the business fails or takes longer than expected to turn a profit. You may also want to have cash reserves for the business or an open business line of credit so that you can keep the business afloat during any challenging periods that might arise.
Plan for Challenges
Running a business is often about overcoming challenges, putting out fires, and handling issues that arise. Therefore, entrepreneurs need to consider what issues and challenges might arise with their business venture and then identify the best way to overcome these issues. Critical thinking is a skill that can be developed with online MBA programs, and you can often find out the main issues that business owners face with a new and/or online business venture, which will hopefully help you to plan and prepare so that you can minimize the impact of any issues that you encounter.
Automate What You Can
When you run an online business, you can often automate many repetitive processes with software and apps. This can save you an enormous amount of time and allow you to focus on other areas of the business as well as speed up your operation, reduce your staffing needs, reduce stress, and improve efficiency. Automating is, essentially, like hiring staff without the need to pay or manage employees, and it is ideal for digital operations, so it is certainly an area that you need to look into and utilize as best you can.
Speaking of staff, you could hire remote employees to help with aspects of the operation, but you might find that outsourcing is best and more cost-effective. You can outsource areas of the business that you need help with to specialists on a per-project basis, and utilizing experts will help to improve your business and ensure that there are no weak points. A few areas that you might want to outsource include:
- Digital marketing
- Social media management
- Customer service
Invest in Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is certainly an area that you need to invest in as a digital entrepreneur as you are unlikely to get much business through footfall. Every business needs to have a strong online presence, but it can also be fiercely competitive, which is why you need to invest in digital marketing and spend time researching different agencies to find one that has a good track record and understands your business and goals. When you create a strong online presence for your business, it should help to increase brand awareness, improve your reputation and attract more customers.
Use Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is ideal for digital entrepreneurs as it allows you to operate your business without the need for a physical IT infrastructure, which means that you can keep your IT costs down as well as work from anywhere and collaborate with people no matter where they are. This will be the most efficient way to work, especially if you want to work while on the move, which can be one of the major perks of being a digital entrepreneur.
Add a Human Touch
One area where many digital entrepreneurs struggle is providing a human touch, which is so important when it comes to success in business. Customers and clients want to know who they are doing business with, but obviously, a lot of the work will be done digitally. This is why you need to find ways to add a human touch, such as conducting video calls, meeting people face-to-face, net-working, and phone calls. You also need to maintain and nurture these relationships so that you can create a positive reputation and build loyalty with your customer base, suppliers, partners, and any-one else that is involved with your business.
Do Not Neglect Customer Service
Similarly, customer service needs to be a priority when you run an online business. It is frustrating when you cannot get hold of anyone with an online business, or you do not feel like a valued customer, so you should make sure that customer service is a priority whether you handle this yourself or outsource it. You need to be easy to contact, friendly yet professional, and always willing to go the extra mile with your customers. These days, many consumers do not want to pick up the phone, so you might find it helpful to have a live chat feature where you can handle communication with instant messaging.
Have a Dedicated Workspace
One of the major perks of digital entrepreneurship is that you can run the business entirely from the comfort of your own home. While this certainly has many benefits, many people have discovered during the pandemic that working from home is not always easy, particularly if you do not have a dedicated workspace. Ideally, you will have a home office where you can work comfortably throughout the day, free from distraction, and keep your home and work life separate.
Separate Home and Work
Leading on from this, a major drawback of working from home is that it can be hard to keep your home and work life separate, as many have discovered during COVID-19. Therefore, you should also develop a routine and schedule that you stick to strictly in addition to having a dedicated work-space. On top of this, you might find it helpful to have ways to separate your work and home, such as going for a walk after work or having clothes that you wear for work that you can change out of.
Online MBA programs will equip you with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to find success with your business, but there is still much more than you can learn. You should commit to self-improvement so that you can continue to improve your abilities as an entrepreneur and find ways to take your business forward. You might find it helpful to read business blogs, listen to podcasts, at-tend industry events and sign up for new courses as a way to keep learning, improve your skillset and take your business forward.
Protect Your Business from Cybercrime
Cybercrime is an enormous threat to digital businesses, so you need to make sure that you are protecting your brand. Cybercrime has risen drastically during the pandemic with so many businesses operating digitally, and this has the potential to cause significant damage and even destroy your company. Therefore, it is worth spending time researching how to protect your business and data as well as investing in cybersecurity to protect your business – this will also help to provide peace of mind, which is so important when running a business entirely online.
Many people are turning to digital entrepreneurship right now, which can certainly bring many benefits to your life and could be a great way to make a living. Digital entrepreneurship is not without its challenges, though, coupled with many of the regular obstacles and challenges that you face with starting any new business. Hopefully, this post will help you to feel prepared and find success with your online business venture.