The world’s economy is more and more favourable towards online businesses- now more than ever because of the world-wide pandemic. The internet offers many helpful tools, and being able to work from home is now a benefit that many wish they could have. Even so, managing your own business can sometimes feel overwhelming.
If you don’t know where to start, here are some tips that might help you!
Know your competition
Regardless of what you plan to sell, or what service you want to offer, chances are that there is already somebody out there doing something similar. As society evolves, truly unique never-been-done before ideas and services are much harder to come by. After all, great minds think alike!
Set aside some time to do market research and learn about your competition. Try to observe what they are doing well, and what you think might need some improvement. Pinpoint the things that make your idea different from theirs, and make sure that the similarities are not so many as to infringe on copyright.
It’s important to know why customers might choose others over you, or vice-versa. Try to look at their communication and the channels they are using, and how!
Look at both direct competitors- those who offer the same product or service as you- or indirect competitors- those who might not offer the same thing, but do meet the same need in a different way.
Having this knowledge about your competitors can help you improve your own product or service, as well as your marketing and customer communication. Make use of information to help you stand out!
Make use of time management
It’s very easy to get lost in a sea of tasks and ideas. Sometimes it seems like there is not enough time in the day to get everything done- wouldn’t we all love a 30 hour day, instead of 24? Feeling like you’re constantly running out of time is frustrating and stressful, and can greatly impact productivity.
Try to set time-bound goals. Those don’t have to be huge projects, you can start by breaking down some long-term goals you have into monthly or weekly ones. Try to set small targets for each day, with bigger weekly or monthly “check-points”. This way you don’t have to worry about when this or that thing will be done- you already have it scheduled!
Commit to a system! There are plenty of time management apps, productivity plans and software and even helpful videos or classes. Which you choose to use depends on what best fits you, but try to stick to it and don’t change your organization system every week. Commit to a plan or tool that serves you best and try to stick to it!
Finally, track your time! Sometimes an hour feels like an eternity, but when you are busy it seems like 5 hours were only 10 minutes. That’s how you easily end up spending an hour just re-writing an email. Tracking your time can help you get everything done more productively and make sure you’re not spending too much time on small tasks.
You probably won’t always be able to get everything done in a day. It’s normal to have a few “leftovers” at the end of the day. Don’t stress out or postpone your sleep to solve them! Rather, try to make a list and figure out your priorities.
A priority task list can help you figure out which things can be dropped or post poned, so you can focus only on the most important items. Schedule the bulk of your time to focus on important or urgent issues, and then figure out if you can spend any hours left to solve the other things on your list. Even when you can’t, you’ll have the peace of mind of having finished essential tasks.
Try to prioritize when it comes to life outside of business as well. You can’t spend every minute of your day solely focused on your growing business- you might have other matters to attend to like school,family, a healthy social life! Remind yourself of what’s important outside of your online career and try to not lose sight of those things. Maintaining a healthy balance between work and life is incredibly valuable, and will only help you more in the long run.
Learn good online security habits
Online security is incredibly important in an online business. Everything happens on the internet, so knowing about security threats and how to deal with them is crucial! If you worked in a building, you wouldn’t leave your office door unlocked right? The same goes for online work too!
Most importantly: manage your passwords! Using the same password for every tool and website you use is not a good idea. There have been plenty of wide-spread attacks over the years, in which thousands of users have lost their data because their passwords were incredibly easy to hack. You wouldn’t that to happen to a personal account, much less a business one!
Use a password manager- there are plenty, like LastPass and never use the same password twice. Make them long, random and with no connection to eachother!
Make sure to also invest in a good anti-virus. It might cost a bit, but it will be worth-it in the long run.
There are plenty of important and confidential things that you can only store online, when your business is on the internet. Many don’t take security seriously and end up paying for it! Invest some time and money now, for some peace of mind later.
Hopefully these tips can help you a bit and give you some ideas for managing your online business! If I missed something let me know in the comments below