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Must-Have Skills for Running an Online Business
Running a business is not easy. There is an endless number of things to keep track of and juggle.
With that in mind, there are some key skills you need in order to succeed in running an online business.
Being knowledgeable about the area you intend to enter is very important. If you don’t know much about the industry you are entering, you may want to rethink that decision. You don’t need to know everything about a topic, but you should have a firm grasp. Not only will a good base knowledge of the industry or professional field help you get going, but it will also help you with authority. Knowing what you are talking about will build credibility for your content.
A Thick Skin
To run any business, you must have thick skin; you have to be tough. Customers will not always be kind and things will go wrong. The ability to take criticism or deal with hardship is what will keep you going when things get tough. You simply cannot collapse under the pressure or the comments. The best business leaders know how to take bad news and run with it, making something good out of a bad situation. Has a customer left a raging review? Talk to them honestly and openly, try to make things better. Did something go wrong? Use it as a learning experience so it doesn’t happen again. Learn to develop resilience.
A Technical Base
To run an online business, you first must have an online space, whether it be desktop or mobile. Register domains, find a hosting plan, create social media accounts, and potentially set up your online store. Sadly, things only get more complicated from here. If you want custom templates, images, or anything else, it will take even more work. You also need to know how to fix your space should something go wrong, or you will need to hire someone who has the knowledge to do so. It is possible to outsource your technical issues, but doing so may prove to be difficult at the beginning of the process. So, knowing how to fix your own site is crucial to sustained success.
When you are working on your online business, maximizing your time is vital. It is pertinent that you try to fit as much work into your working hours as possible. Processing orders, responding to comments and maintaining the site are all crucial tasks and you only have so long to do them. Manage your time well and you can accomplish what needs to be done.
There are plenty of free apps that are dedicated to time management and organization. Google Suite collects your documents, email, and calendar all in one place which makes it easy to keep track of projects and administration. Toggl, Workflow, and other similar cheap or free apps are also available to help keep you on track.
When you start out it might not be possible to have a team with you, but if you can, it helps. Bring in employees and partners you trust, are excited about what they do, and have the skills to help. Adding unnecessary people to your group can muddy the water and slow things down, so choosing who you are involved with is key.
Websites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and Glassdoor can help you find qualified employees who can add to your business. You can also work with local staffing agencies and take advantage of their existing networks. If you have the capability, you could even hire an in-house recruiter. There are a multitude of ways to find your next hire.
In order to gain new customers, you'll have to market to them. Marketing takes many forms, from social media, to print ads, to product descriptions, promotions, and more. Each form of marketing is important, as it brings something unique to your business. Make your own ads, send out a customer survey, post your own content on social media sites; there are plenty of ways to get started.
Staying active on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and more is vitally important. Most of the world interacts with social media and it is where people are most likely to see your brand. Through social media, you can also post other content like blogs, articles, videos, or press releases. Linking to your other content widens the number of people that can potentially view it.
Part of social media is working specifically on mobile access. A large portion of people access the web through their phones, so you must be sure that your site can be viewed properly on mobile. Have a plan for mobile and ensure it is executed to maximize your campaigns.
Partnering with influencers who have a large audience and industry respect is great exposure for your brand. Those large audiences may have never heard of your company, so exposing them to your name can lead to new potential customers. Joining with an influencer also gives your brand authority and trust as fans of the influencer trust their opinion.
Guest blogging is when you post content on someone else’s website that links back to your own website. This content should be about something that is relevant to your brand and the site it is posted on should be credible. By using another site’s credibility, your content is given a boost of authority increasing your brand reputation.
Customer service is more than just answering questions or complaints. How you answer these questions is what is truly important. People expect more from a company than canned responses. They want to see the human element in how a company communicates. Talk to your customers like friends, listen to what they are saying, and personally respond to their comments.
While this list is far from comprehensive, these are some basic skills and practices that you need to run an online business. Hopefully, they will serve you well and your business will be a roaring success.
About the Author
Nick Rojas combines 20 years of experience working with and consulting for small to medium business and a passion for journalism to help readers grow. He writes about technology, marketing, and social media for the aspiring entrepreneur. @NickARojas