5 undeniable benefits of starting an online business

THE LIGHTBULB MOMENT

Most people at some point in their life have come up with an idea for their own business. For instance, when the founders of Paymentsense thought, ‘Small businesses need card payment solutions too!’ when went on to create the UK’s leading merchant services provider. But despite this, the majority of people will never go on to pursue their idea, and instead continue to toil away at their day job.

In this day and age, it’s much quicker, easier and affordable to launch your own enterprise if you can conduct the majority (if not all) of your business online.

For those with a retail-based business idea, the new ease of starting an online business is nothing short of a miracle. This is because the absence of overheads (e.g. a physical shopfront with rent, bills and staff) lowers the risks involved. As eCommerce (online buying and selling) continues to soar, more and more would-be entrepreneurs are seeing the benefit in starting an online business.

But what exactly are those benefits?

“In this day and age, it’s much quicker, easier and affordable to launch your own enterprise if you can conduct the majority of your business online.”

1. TAKING CONTROL

Being self-employed means that, as well as taking control of your own working conditions, you are in complete control of the direction of your enterprise. Many of us have suffered jobs in which we disagree with the management or direction of the company. However, when running your own venture, you can decide to expand or downsize, hire or fire, sell on or shut down, as long as you retain the majority share of the company.

It must also be noted that while you hold the majority of the power, you also share responsibility for the failures and losses endured by the company. Keep this in mind as not everything is likely to be as plain sailing as it first appears.

To sell a particular product or provide a service, you probably feel passionate about the industry; whether it’s retail or hospitality, transport or publishing, construction or education. The opportunity to be a part of the industry that you know and love can be very rewarding. What’s more, you’ll be able to share your ideas and affect others in a positive way with your goods or services.

2. VOCATION, VOCATION, VOCATION

As mentioned earlier, physical stores often prove to be a greatest expense for business owners. One of the most significant benefits of an online store is the massively reduced overheads and the ability to be everywhere at once.

With a physical store, chances are you have to find an available shopfront in a good location, evaluate the space, negotiate the fees and obtain the business licences, equipment, furniture and more — all before you’ve made a penny!

On the flipside, with an online business, all you need is a web domain (read our guide on choosing a web domain for your business) or an online marketplace like Amazon, eBay or Buy.com.

In terms of physical space, you’re not restricted to working from one place. If you don’t want to work from home you can take your pick of shared workspaces. If you have inventory to stock (such as the products you sell through your website) you can opt to use an end-to-end fulfillment service like Fulfilled by Amazon to take the warehouse management and delivery off your hands for a small fee.

On top of all this, the global nature of the internet opens you up to a truly global market, instead of being limited to your country, city or town. By using money transfer solutions like Worldfirst which integrates into your chosen marketplace, you can sell anywhere in the world in a foreign currency and bring the money back home in pound sterling, euros or any domestic currency.

When it comes to solutions for small businesses, there are a number of quality solutions that make launching an online business easier and more manageable.

3. MAXIMISING YOUR EARNING POTENTIAL

As an employee of another company, the amount you work will have little affect on your earning potential in the short term.

When you run a business, the opposite is true. The amount you (and your team) work directly affects the amount you can earn. Naturally. those who are committed to their work will often see greater returns than those who do not.

Of course, if things go to plan, your business will even make money while you sleep. The internet is open 24/7, 365 so those who set up an eCommerce businesses may find themselves waking up to new orders. This might seem like a novelty at first, but around-the-clock sales are a sign of a strong business and high demand.

But how can you capitalise on these overnight requests? There are many tools available to automate actions and processes, from Buffer, which schedules social media posts and promotions to IF which triggers actions like capturing and logging mentions of your brand. Using these automations can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

4. ENJOYING THE FLEXIBILITY

Running an online business gives you the freedom to break free from the routine of 9-5 work and instead make things work around you. Childcare costs are on the rise in inner cities and many parents would argue that spending time with their child is priceless. Being your own boss can help you to be around for the moments that matter.

But the flexibility to work when and where you like extends far past childcare considerations. Many want to explore the world while they work, others have ailing family members to look after or a number of hobbies they want to maintain. While building a business can be time consuming initially, the payoff could allow you to spend more hours earning and less hours actually working.

5. THE TIME IS NOW

It’s predicted that by in 3 years, 20% of all retail sales will be made online. This is not hard to believe when 84 percent of global internet users are already heading online to make purchases.

Last year the UK Cards Association reported that £210 billion was spent online.* This is a stark contrast to 2005’s figure of around £20 billion. The internet revolution has made goods and services more accessible to consumers and as such, is moving people away from high street spending.

With the trend set to continue growing, now is the perfect time to get involved and ensure you are on the receiving end of the money just waiting to be spent online.

How do you start selling online? Once you have your website or online store set up, it’s important to use secure, trusted and reliable online card payment solutions. Without a provider of card processing solutions like a payment gateway, your customers cannot securely buy products or services from your website.