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Pros and Cons of Starting an Online Business

Aug 27, 2007
Starting an online business isn't any better or worse than opening a traditional storefront, but it is different.

While traditional stores require fairly large initial investments for rent, utilities, employees, merchandise and advertising, online businesses require similar start-ups costs that include website design, server fees, marketing, and merchandise.

One major benefit to opening an online business is the speed in which you can open your doors to the world. An online business can be up and running virtually overnight, especially if you use a full service server that makes website templates and other business essentials such as advertising, marketing, shipping and management tools available.

Even choosing a domain name can take minutes online compared to waiting weeks for a ficticous name certificate from your state government for a traditional business name.

When you run a business online, your customers never have to know how big (or small) your company really is, and for many the flexibility of working during off hours is a major advantage. With no foot traffic needing to see your store's merchandise, you can also save thousands by keeping inventory at a minimum.

With so many benefits to running an online business, what are some things to watch out for? Advertising, for one thing. You can't grow a business if no one knows you exist. While you may have a few similar stores to compete against in a traditional mall setting, your online store must compete with thousands all over the world. Making yours stand out among the rest can take some ingenuity and know-how. It's important to take the time to learn how to make your online business pop up first on search engines such as google and yahoo in order to survive and grow.

Choosing a great server right from the start is also essential. Your server is your business's lifeline. If it goes down, everything regarding your business; from your website and email to order taking and delivery services will come to a screeching halt! If this happens too often your existing customers will look elsewhere for service.

In addition, it can be very difficult to change servers once you have become established, so it's important to choose carefully from the beginning and spend whatever is necessary to get the service you need. This is not an area to pinch pennies!

If, however, you find a responsible server that offers enough services to grow along with your budding company, it can take much of the daily business burden off of your shoulders as manager and owner.

Regardless of the type of online business you are creating, remember these simple steps to success:

-Find a server with a good track record and the ability to grow with your business.

-Find out how to make your business stand out in various search engines.

-Learn how to find and maintain customers on the worldwide web.

-Learn the unique marketing strategies reserved for online businesses.
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