Monday, December 19, 2011

What is Online Business?

Just what is online business? The term itself conjures all sorts of thoughts for different people.

For some, the term online business means a new venture that delivers business entirely online whilst for others, an online business is an extension of their current business with the Internet being another channel to market.

Regardless of whether your online business is an extension of your existing business or a startup venture, you will require an understanding of the laws governing electronic commerce, exporting, taxes, digital rights and copyright, websites and online security.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that the usual business needs for business planning, targeted marketing strategies, understanding who your clients are customers are and providing a quality product are just as applicable to your online business as they are to any offline business.
For your online business to be successful, it helps to think of your web presence (website, blog or other industry associated listings) as your storefront. Your web presence is where your customers will interact with your business the most.  As such, your storefront needs to provide open access to information about your company, the products and services your company sells, your customer customer service and it should provide an easy way for customers to purchase from you.  The style of your website (or web presence) will set the tone for your online business – and even if you want to portray a casual and fun site, it is imperative to have a professionally developed site.

When creating your website, it is important to be sure that the you own the copyright or have permission to use all of the images and written material used on the site and connected to your business.

If you are setting a ECommerce store online, or a shopfront that sells things, then your online business will need to be able to take money in a secure electronic way. It is very important to remember that you must maintain privacy in these transactions, as this will not only build strong customer relations and increase sales from returning customers, it will enhance your businesses general reputation.

Electronic shopping carts and payment gateways are secure systems that will allow payments to be taken online from your shopfront.  There are a number of excellent shopping carts available – Auto Web Business (1 Shopping Cart ) is one to consider and if you are running a WordPress Website, I also recommend WP-ECommerce.

The laws that govern business, and online business, differ from Country to Country and by State in each Country.  A business owner needs to be aware of these laws as they govern tax colletion, interstate trade, exporting, restrictions on shipping and limits on what can be sold in individual states.

Overall, online business is an excellent opportunity for the business owner to tailor their business to meet their customer’s needs however, understanding the information in this article will help greatly.

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