Ana Brdar writes about the challenges and benefits of an online business.

When it comes to running an online business, there is somewhat of a misconception that doing web-based commerce is easy and does not require a lot of effort. And while it is true that in the internet era pretty much anyone with a computer can set up an online business, this does not mean this type of endeavor does not come with its own specific set of challenges and obstacles.

Before anything, setting up online business requires a lot of planning, research and assessment. Since it is so easy to get lost in the sea of internet’s vast offer, you need to have a solid understanding about who your potential clients are, where to find them and what their needs are. Building a website for an online business has also become greatly facilitated, but you still have to make sure it looks welcoming and engaging and is tailored to fit your niche – something that is easier said than done. Moreover, it is absolutely necessary to familiarize yourself with a plethora of online marketing tools, such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), PPC (Pay-Per-Click advertising), promotion via social media and many others in order to boost your online visibility. Unlike traditional businesses, web-based ones do not have the advantage of physical presence, so they have to work harder on their promotion to become noticed. And even though working from home and not commuting may sound convenient and liberating, individuals who do most of their work online often fall into the trap of being unable to separate their “office” hours from their spare time. As online shops work 24/7, it becomes difficult for business owners to decide when it’s time to call it a day.

However, once you overcome the initial hurdles, you will find that running an online business can be incredibly fun and rewarding. For one, setting up an online business does not tend to cost much – so you already don’t have to pressure to become a success story from the very get-go. Additionally, one of the most obvious benefits of having a web-based business is its international reach – so, for example, if you’re running an online art gallery, not only are you able to showcase your offer to a global audience, but you can also communicate with and ultimately exhibit artists from all around the world. Furthermore, the potential customers who come across your website have the luxury of browsing and looking at the artwork around the clock from the privacy of their own homes. And the way the future of internet and smart tech is shaping up, the younger generations will tend to do most of their shopping online as opposed to physical stores.

Needless to say, brick and mortar businesses have existed since the dawn of time and will continue to do so for the unforeseeable future. However, if you find your service or product lends itself better to web sale and are willing to tackle the aforementioned challenges, then you might find the benefits of doing online business greatly outweigh the traditional method.

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