David Schneider March 25th, 2021

4 Essential Practices You Should Consider for Your Online Business

Close to two billion people shopped online last year. And with the pandemic quickly changing shopping habits, the number is set to increase even more in 2021 and beyond.

Because of that, it’s not surprising that online sales are booming and that as many as 24 million eCommerce stores are operating right now. 

But at the same time, it means that companies have a harder time standing out. And that can have an impact on the value of the business and its ability to grow consistently. 

And the biggest problem most online stores face is not a lack of marketing channels. Instead, it’s usually poor business practices that make the store very hard to sell. 

So, if you’re thinking, “how to sell my website?”, you will need to know where to find the right buyers and also how to make your website more appealing. Looking at other websites for sale can help you gain a better understanding of how successful sites look at first glance, but it’s equally important how the online store is structured from the business side.

And that means you should not only focus on the marketing side but also make sure that you implement the best practices of running an online business that will make it truly sustainable in the long term.

Let’s explore some of the key strategies you should consider below. 

Create a Technical Document Knowledge Base

Managing and working with documents is an inseparable part of running a business, both online and offline. Whether you’re running a software solution, an eCommerce store, or any other type of business, you will need to find a way to handle documents while also keeping them secure.

And that’s where technical documentation software can be so useful. 

These tools can help store and securely access a wide variety of documents, especially technical resources such as source code, which must be protected.

But what should you look for in a good solution?

Well, one of the key considerations is access control. You want your team to be able to retrieve the documents they need quickly. Still, there also have to be security features that prevent unauthorized access and allow tracking of any changes to the documents. 

Since documents will likely be edited and worked on, the interface needs to be convenient as well. It should provide intuitive and comprehensive writing and editing experience for your team and include features they need to work efficiently. 

Finally, depending on your team’s size, you will also need to consider which pricing plan will work best in your situation. Some solutions offer per-user pricing, which can quickly add up if you have a large team that needs access. 

Prioritize Customer Data Security

Photo by Franck on Unsplash

Most companies believe that their customer data is secure and that what they’re doing is enough. Up to the point that it isn’t. And then, these companies are forced to deal with the aftermath of situations like these, which can forever damage a company’s reputation.

But the good news is that if you take an honest and proactive approach, you can minimize the risks associated with data security and privacy, which your customers will surely appreciate.

The first step of keeping hackers at bay is regularly updating the tools and software you might be using. And at the same time, carefully evaluating the provider’s reputation and whether you can trust them to store your customer data.

You should also consider using a dedicated server that’s used by your business only. Many companies also use advanced encryption for adding an extra layer of protection for sensitive data.

Simultaneously, you should implement the best cybersecurity practices and educate your employees on the critical steps they should follow when handling data or accessing documents. 

Protecting data is a process that takes time and effort, but as you become more familiar with what it takes and offer adequate protection to your data, your customers will start to appreciate that as one of the key benefits of working with you.

Use Data to Make Informed Decisions

Today’s companies have access to more data than ever before. And while that offers tremendous potential, that data will only be useful if you actually use it and apply the insights you gain to running the business.

That’s why employing a data-driven decision-making process can be one of the biggest difference-makers for your business.

Instead of making decisions based on intuition or subjective experiences, you can look at any problem from a data-based perspective, analyze similar situations in the past, and determine the outcomes that are the most likely to generate the desired result.

For instance, if you want to promote a new product, you could analyze data from previous launches and identify what worked best and which strategies didn’t produce the necessary outcomes.

Then, you could focus the majority of your efforts on the most promising approaches, maximizing your resources and increasing the likelihood of success.

As you collect more data and follow a data-driven approach, your team will start adopting it as well, which will dramatically increase the success rate in most situations. 

Listen to Your Customers

As a business, your success is largely dependent on your ability to engage and convert your audience. While that sounds simple enough, many companies are afraid to reach out and communicate with their customers. Instead, they’re trying to guess what they prefer and basically operate in the dark.

Many aren’t sure how to establish a connection to their audience, with most insights being limited to support queries and online reviews.

However, there are plenty of opportunities for learning more about your customers, no matter the size of your business. 

One of the most effective ways to learn more about your audience’s needs is to sit down and talk with your best customers in an interview. Sure, organizing a customer interview takes effort, but there probably isn’t a better way to gain direct insights about what they want, why they chose to work with you, and what you could do better.

Additionally, surveys or even on-site polls can be a great supplementary strategy that helps answer specific questions or learn more about who the people on the other side of the screen might be.

If you have a social media presence, you should also try to be more engaged in the conversations that your followers are having. By responding to comments, trying to solve problems, and even encouraging conversations through posts, you can not only gain insights but also showcase a more human side of your company.

Final Words

Running a successful online business takes more than just attracting new customers; you must also know how to run the business side if you want your business to be successful and appealing to buyers if you decide to sell down the road.

With the strategies listed above, you will be setting your business up for long-term success and mitigating some of the biggest risks faced by online businesses today.


Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

David Schneider

Previously the cofounder of influencer marketing software NinjaOutreach. Together with Mark Samms we bootstrapped the company to 20 people and over 500 customers. Now I run Shortlist.io, a full service digital marketing agency.

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