Many people want to start an online business because they believe it is a path to easy money. While I would not by any means use the term "easy", it is true that barriers to starting an online business are much lower than a traditional brick and mortar. And yes, it is also true that a properly constructed online business will likely also take less effort to operate and maintain.
However, let us stick a pin in "operate" and "maintain".
Though relatively easy to start, the management and maintenance of these type of business requires a very specific skillset that I notice is rarely discussed in content addressing this topic.
In my opinion, a successful online business is one that has staying power and is able generate reliable and predictable income for its owner year after year.
The following skillsets are absolutely critical if your intention is to actually make money from your online business over the long term. You don't necessarily need to have these skills personally, however you have to make sure that they are present within your business in order to sustain lasting success.
How to Communicate Value Online
Human behavior and psychology are quite different online compared to their normal day to day interactions in meat space. You need to be aware of what these differences are, and how you can leverage them in order to effectively communicate the value you are offering through your business.
Essentially, you need to become an amateur social phycologist and study how your target market likes to be communicated to online.
Do they like video or text? Do they want to be entertained or informed? Do they appreciate humor etc.
This is the kind of stuff you will need to figure out if you want to consistently reach your target market and compel them to do business with you.
How and When to ask for the Money
In order to get money from a customer, of course you have to ask for it. This should go without saying, but I have worked with enough new businesses to realize that is actually something that many have trouble with.
At some point in the interactions with your potential new customer, you will need to address the elephant in the room. The trick here is knowing when and how to bring it up.
This correct answers to these questions are industry and business specific. So, knowing when and how to do this effectively is more of an art than science. This is a skill that comes intuitively to some, but the vast majority of us will need to practice in order to grow this muscle.
Be Bold but Not Thirsty
If you are not willing to put in the hours to practice this art, and this is not a talent you are naturally blessed with, my recommendation is to hire a sales consultant to review your messaging and sales process.
How to Turn one Customer into 2
The easiest and fastest way to scale an online business is to acquire the skillset of turning one customer into many. This does not require any magic and is actually much easier than the previous 2 skills. To do this, all you need to do is provide good service to a customer and then ask them for a referral.
The way you go about asking will of course depend on what type of online business you are operating, however if you have genuinely given your customer a pleasant and value filled experience you will find that this is actually much easier than you would imagine.
If you are running a service-based business, reach out to them and ask if they know anyone who would benefit from the service they have just received. If they say yes, ask them to call the person and make an introduction. From a psychological point of view, a recommendation that comes via phone call is much more impactful than a text message or email introduction.
If you have a product-based business, offer an incentive for them to share and promote your products. This can be in the form of an affiliate program, discounts, or free products.
Once you are able to master or buy these skillsets, you are pretty much guaranteed success in the online business marketplace.
If you are selling products online and would like to set up an automated affiliate program, get in touch with me. The appeal of free easy money is an extremely powerful motivator, and you will be surprised how much your sales can increase by offering this incentive to your customers.