The sudden breakout of COVID-19 pandemic has not left the world the way it met it. The effect of the disease cuts across all sectors of the world economy. Startups are not left out; they had their share of the breakdown caused by this pandemic. Many businesses were put on hold as for the first time in many centuries, the economy of many countries, including the United States, were shut down for days. The U.S. alone recorded 20.6 million job loss from mid-March to April.
Those that are the worst hit during this time are the startups, restaurants, retails and travel sector. Large companies are still able to bear it a little but many small and new business have parked up. The good news is that your business is still alive. You are looking for means of thriving in business despite the situation.
This article will guide you on how to grow your startup business. You will learn how to virtually grow your business now and how not to be hit twice by this kind of situation. This is necessary because no one envisage that there could ever come a time when people would have to stay at home to safe-guard their lives without any consideration for their daily work.
Businesses that have escaped the adverse effect of the situation are those who were able to get their workers to start working remotely almost immediately. So, let’s set the ball rolling.
What is a Virtual Business?
A virtual business is a business that is run remotely through the power of the internet. Most times such businesses cannot be limited by their location. It is a business that can be run from home or anywhere there is internet connection. You may call it an online business. The most common virtual industry is the retail industry. Popular among them is Amazon. Other examples of industry with virtual reality include: healthcare industry, marketing and advertising industry, construction industry, real estate industry, automotive industry, film and entertainment industry, sports industry, tourism industry and education industry. For you to grow a successful virtual business, there are key things you must put into consideration from the on-set.
4 Keys To a Successful Virtual Business
If a start-up is to thrive online there are 4 things which must be settled even before the business is lunched. These 4 keys is what I call NEAM.
- The Niche
- The End Result
- The Approach Required
- The Management
1. The Niche
Your success or failure online often times begins with the type of niche you choose. In business, a niche is a focused or specialized area of a broader market where a business can serve and make itself distinct from the competitive market. You cannot be the best in everything, it is necessary to research areas where you think you may be able to have an upper hand with little effort. As a business owner, you should find a niche in your industry that has unmet needs or that is been under-served.
Deciding a niche for your business will also go a long way in helping you to reach the right people online.
Another thing to do is to find out how well your chosen niche can perform online. Do your market research and competitor analysis before taking a final decision as to what the business will be known for. I can not over emphasize this. This is because 70% of start-up businesses fail because they are started based on assumptions, hear-say and rough estimate. They didn’t conduct real-time market research or did it haphazardly. Know your competitors.
Know the strength and weaknesses of those who have been in the market ahead of you. This step is very crucial because it will help you to be able to narrow down and be the best at what you have chosen. You can capitalize on their weakness and make it become part of your strength.
2. The End Result
It is a common saying that “anything you cannot see, you cannot become”. A lot of start up failed even before the business began. Yes! Are you surprised? Read on, you will get to understand this soon.
The moment you start a business without a clear vision of what you think the business should have become in the next five, ten years; clearly spelt-out goals, the start-up might soon meet its waterloo.
Therefore the wisest thing to do after you have identified your niche is to set your goals. The goals must be SMART. That is, it must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Smart goals are concrete end results that you are working hard to achieve over a time period.
You must set goals as to how many customers you would have gained (for a service-based niche), how many pieces of your products you would have sold (for physical products and e-products), types of people you would have imparted (for service based firms, NGOs and entrepreneur), what your ideal virtual business would look like, and most importantly, much revenue you would have generated at the set time. Next to this, is to determine how you would achieve your goal.
3. The Approach
The first thing to do if your business is going to be executed virtually is to design a website. Have a website that will portray a good picture of your business. Be sure to design a user friendly, mobile responsive website. This is critical because mobile devices, excluding tablets, account for 51.53 percent of global internet traffic. This is a clear indication that you’ll be leaving lots of cash on the table if your website is not built to be mobile responsive. You can build your website your self or lend the hands of experts to design a website with professional touch for you. One of the go-to professionals for your web-design is Regency Virtual Solutions.
Also, you must do a strategic planning and research so as to determine the means through which your goals will be achieved online. Here you will know who your ideal audience or customer is. You must determine your target audience, there geographical location, gender and age group, likes, places they visit and so on.
This step is very key to the success of your business online. Most successful online business spends a lot on advert. Therefore you need to decide how you will get your customers. Will it be by paid ads or by optimizing your website for search engine so as to get customers through organic search.
Will you need to spend money on social media advertising or you’ll just build your brand presence on social media or you’ll do both. All these you must determine from the beginning.
It is important for you to know that this particular step, though it must be taken from the beginning, it must be a continuous process. You need to test and check which approach is working and which is not. Discard methods that are not working and stick with those that are generating better results.
Upgrade yourself, train your staff and virtual assistants for optimum performance.
4. The Management
Anyone can set up a virtual business in this days of COVID-19, but not everyone has the capacity to have a thriving virtual business. What makes the difference is the management. Many people plan how to start a business and what to expect, but often fail to plan how the business will be managed in the long term. For you to avoid this mistake you must plan how to manage your virtual business.
To successfully do this, you should have a set plan on
- the number of times you would post on your blog per week or month.
- how often you would engage your followers on social media.
- how much money you will be willing to spend on advertisement or search engine optimization.
- who will update the content on your website. Will it be you, a full-time employee or a virtual staff to save cost.
- who will manage your audience on social media. Will it be you, a full-time employee or a virtual social media manager, to save cost.
- who will handle the customer supports section so as to resolve complaints and give answer to customers questions as regards your business. Will it be you, a full-time employee or a virtual assistant to save cost.
Once you are able to settle all this you are on your way to success. Ensure you follow your plans and review it from time to time to give room for improvement.
Having a virtual business in these days of information technology can be highly beneficial. To achieve this, the right niche, that one has passion which is also scale-able, must be chosen. Don’t choose a niche that you don’t have any inner drive or motivation to pursue, you’ve got to have self motivation. There must be a regular information update.
The goals must be clearly defined from the beginning. And it must be checked from time to time to ensure it is being achieved otherwise the approach must be changed.
So get to work and begin to grow your start-up business virtually.
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