business

Take Your Company to the Next Level with These Tech Upgrades

When you own a small business, you have to think of new ways to move your company forward on a daily basis. At some point, you have probably thought about how technology could improve your business operations. It’s true that more and more companies are using tech to advance their goals and that it can help businesses of all types. 

However, some business owners are hesitant to use tech because of the upfront investment that is often required. Rest assured, there are many kinds of tech on the market today that can take your business to the next level. Some of them are free, and some of them cost a little money upfront, but they quickly pay themselves off. 

If you’re a small business owner wondering what kinds of tech can help your company reach new heights, check out these essential tech upgrades.

Web Development

According to AllBusiness.com, a good place to start is making sure you have a website that appeals to and works for your audience. A lot of potential customers will judge the legitimacy of your company on the quality of your website alone. Rather than stress about designing a site yourself, consider hiring a web developer. When you’re looking for a developer, be sure that any candidate you’re considering is qualified to build an engaging and user-friendly site. 

Mobile Payment 

Mobile payment technology is becoming increasingly popular for companies of all shapes and sizes these days. In short, mobile payment refers to a transaction that occurs directly from a customer’s mobile device, thereby eliminating the need for a physical credit card. Customers want convenience, and if they can’t get it from your company, they know they can get it somewhere else. Plus, mobile transactions are very secure. Square, Dharma, and Shopify are among the most popular mobile payment services. 

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization refers to a practice that aims to increase the frequency of your company’s website showing up in web searches. You can learn some things yourself to improve your results, such as taking a training course specifically for small business owners and learning about some of the foundational terms. For example, learning how to utilize and improve meta tags, anchor text, search algorithms, SERP, and PageRank can go a long way in giving your company a boost and expanding your customer base.

Another option is to hire a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consultant who is an expert in the field. SEO professionals should be skilled in keyword research and on- and off-site optimization.

Document Sharing

Using services to share documents and other data among your team is a great way to add efficiency to your operations. Programs like Google Drive, Evernote, and OneDrive allow you to safely and quickly share information with your employees, whether it’s an article you are writing, something you found on the internet, or a company-wide spreadsheet. All the information is stored in the cloud, and you choose who you share each document with. 

Telecommuting

Lastly, having the right telecommuting tools will free up your employees to do certain tasks away from the office. This not only increases flexibility for you and your employees, but it can also lead to happier and more productive workers. For example, video conferencing software like Zoom and Skype makes it easy to conduct virtual meetings and collaborate on projects. Collaboration apps like Slack allow your team to work together on projects and tasks, as well as chat one-on-one or in groups. 

The right kinds of technology can propel your company forward. Be sure to hire a qualified web developer who can build your company a great website, consider mobile payment options, and learn as much as you can about SEO. Also, explore your options with document sharing and collaboration tools so that you can streamline work and facilitate communication among team members. When you see how tech like this can boost your business, chances are you won’t think twice to invest in other forms of tech down the road. 

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4 Online Business Models for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

You have considered starting an online business for some time now. Schedule permits you some free time and you’re keen to generate a steady cash flow within a reasonable time frame.

One advantage of going down the online business route is that it requires little capital. It fits your circumstances – an individual with limited resources.

While the thought of getting started motivates you, you are not sure where to start. Ideas run through your head but you cannot seem to choose.

If anything, you understand that building an online business helps you obtain and share knowledge. But the picture in your head is not clear and you need, at the very least, some guidelines.

The good news is that, given how much the Internet has evolved over the years, your opportunities are almost endless. Your biggest challenge, however, is to choose a venture that works.

Common Types of Online Business

If you are not sure what kind of online business to pursue, below are three common entry points to help you arrive at an informed decision:

1. Affiliate Marketing

Becoming an affiliate marketer is not as complicated as many online gurus make it out to be. Simply put, affiliate marketing is about re-selling or promoting the products or services of other entrepreneurs and companies. Affiliate marketers earn a specific commission rate for every product or service sold.

The biggest challenge for this kind of online venture is building a stable and large enough audience who can support your brand or product recommendations. Some marketers go the extra mile to build their credibility until they gain a following. They review products on their blog or create a reseller business website, oftentimes evolving into real influencers.

2. E-Commerce Store

This online business model is perfect for retailers or wholesalers who have no capital but plan to build an actual store in the future. With an e-commerce store, sellers can showcase pictures of their goods and encourage visitors to make a purchase.

One of the best ways to succeed in this online business is to direct your energy into creating a user-friendly website. Your website should not only display your products in an appealing way, but it should be easy to navigate and have features that enhance users’ browsing experience.

All successful e-commerce stores come with a shopping cart, which enables users to purchase multiple products at the same time. They also have a built-in payment terminal where buyers can choose from a variety of online payment options.

3. Gigs

Online gigs are mostly means to an end. Any service individuals or companies are willing to pay for online is essentially considered an online gig. This may be in the form of data entry, surveys, email marketing, writing articles, telemarketing or virtual assistance.

Gigs run for a specific duration. Once they end, you will have to apply for and complete another project. The good thing is that you can stow away your earnings to fund a future project or business undertaking.

While considered by many as mere stepping stones to the real world of online money-making, an accumulation of gigs may turn into some kind of online business. That is if you are willing to stick it out and create an effective business model out of it.

Be discerning when it comes to choosing online gigs. The Internet is rife with scammers and frauds. They often populate classified ads, freelancing platforms and content mills to trick freelancers into working without pay.

Always do your research. Obtain as much information as you can about websites offering gigs. Read reviews and forum discussions.

4. Monetise Your Blog

If you do not have a blog, it’s about time you start one. With the right formula in place, blogging can be a lucrative source of income for just about anyone. In fact, some of the most successful bloggers earn around $50,000 a month – even more.

And the good thing about today’s blogging industry is that it’s no longer as troublesome or as time-consuming as it used to be. Platforms such as WordPress and Google’s Blogger have changed for the better. They now accommodate the accessibility needs of various users.

Be forewarned, however, that starting a blog is a work in progress. The money will not roll in overnight. With patience, consistent quality content and a lot of effort, blogs can generate a sustainable passive income in the long run.

Moreover, mind your target readers. What do they want to read? Can you offer something that will benefit them? What you put out on your blog must be useful to your readers, so that the time they spend browsing your blog would be worth it.

New Business Models

online business models that work

As digital technology evolves, so do online businesses. And “information” sits at the core of this evolution.

Experts from various fields can now bank on their knowledge by creating their own e-learning site, offering paid online classes, launching podcasts and releasing training modules to name a few.

Online marketplaces have also spurred the growth of Software as a Service (SaaS) – online tools specifically developed to solve or troubleshoot business issues. These programs automate company systems and help raise profit.

Moreover, web designers now have plenty of opportunities to sell their self-designed themes and templates. Writers, on one hand, can make money from content mills. On the whole, today’s online business models have been a great source of creative freedom.

If the four avenues listed above fail to give you the advantage you seek, you’re free to explore other alternatives.

Selecting the Ideal Online Business

The ideal business model is subjective. You have to understand different business models will not have the same effects on different entrepreneurs or companies. What may work for your business may not work on another. That is why it is important to select an online business that falls in line with your personal preferences and immediate business needs.

To fast track the selection process, ask basic questions. For how long will you operate your business? How soon do you plan to launch it? How much are you willing to invest on a quarterly or yearly basis? Answering these will help you adopt the most viable business model.