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10 Skills You Need to Start Online Business - Starting an online business is no walk in the park. It takes guts and a lot of skill. Almost all of those who have tried (and  succeeded) can attest to this. Just like with any entrepreneurial venture, it is vital that you have done your wide-scope research on the business you intend to dip your toes in. 
Source: by Tim Mossholder

This research will help you identify which skills you need so that you can succeed in the world of business. And today we’ll be talking about exactly that! Stay tuned to discover which skills are essential and how you can hone them.

1. Digital marketing and sales

There is a market out there for everything. No, really. EVERYTHING. If you have an unusually out-of-the-box idea, I can guarantee you there is a huge demand for it. 

But, this is all dependent on how well you market yourself. You have to let your target market know you exist and (more importantly) you need to keep their attention.  

Without a road map, there will be no way for your target customers to find you and subsequently, nobody will buy your product or service.

There are numerous marketing strategies that  you can employ. You should take your time to thoroughly grasp the concept of each one. Some of the branches you should focus on include: Inbound marketing, Affiliate marketing, Native advertising, Email and online PR, SEO. 

Let’s focus on SEO, which stands for Search  Engine Optimization. This is the process of getting your content as high up on Google (or any search engine) as you possibly can. By doing this, you are increasing the possibility for your product to be discovered by customers. You will also be increasing the amount of traffic drawn to your business’ website.

We won’t be going into the technicalities of  SEO because it is quite intricate. We will, however, remind you that SEO is your best friend. Everyone who uses the internet, navigates the web mainly through search engines. This is why it is vital that you tweak your content in a way which aligns with what customers will search online.

There are three things you need to keep in mind when optimizing your website  searches: links, content and page structure.

Along with a specific algorithm, Google and other such search engines also use standard rules to choose which content to show for search queries. The metrics mentioned above (links, content and page structure) are used by these search engines to evaluate and rank sites depending on quality.

Links, in this context, are affiliate links. Sites which use these are preferred by search engines and therefore, are more likely to be shown higher up on a search page.  

You might be wondering why this is the case? No quality website would include affiliate links to shady or dubious sites. Adding affiliate links (which take you to productive and useful sites) shows the search engine’s algorithm that you have a top-quality website.

The next metric search engines focus on is content. You need to analyse how relatable your content is to whatever key word the customer searches up.  

Take your time putting together your content so that when a customer searches words that align with your business and your site’s content, you are one of the first thing that pops up.

Lastly, you need the right page structure for your website. It should be in HTML format and should include the relevant keywords in the title or header. You have to make sure your site is easy for the customer to manoeuvre.

As said above, there are many strategies  you can adopt and you might be feeling a little overwhelmed with all this information. But fear not! There are many online courses that will equip you with the skills you need for success.

2. Time management

In the business world, time is money. Each  second is a precious commodity that shouldn’t go to waste. With an online business, especially when you’re in your early stages of development, you have to allocate sufficient time and energy to kick off your business. Draft a daily to-do list.  

If you’re a procrastinator like me, a great hack that I found is writing your to-do list the night before and set up your desk with all the things you’ll need the next day to complete the list.  

When you wake up in the morning, you won’t  be wasting valuable time figuring out what you need to do and where your pens and  papers are; you can get straight to work.

If you’re really struggling with time management, there are online courses you can enrol into.  

Not only will you learn tips on how to  manage your time, you’ll also be able to delve deep into yourself to figure out the  root cause of these time management issues. 

3. Leadership and delegation skills

With great power, comes great responsibility.  All my Spider-Man fanatics know that one! If you’re starting your business, it’s safe to assume that you want it to grow and expand.  

You’ll have a lot of power with your successful business, but you’ll also be responsible for a lot of things. This could range from coming up with new business ideas all the way to coding your new and improved website. There’s only so much one person can do!

This is where two important business skills come in: leadership and delegation. You’ll need to hire extra arms to help you with your successful business and as their leader, you will have to delegate tasks.  

Personality matters as well because being  personable is a big part of being a leader. You want to be surrounded by people who feel valued and important by you so that they can happily do whatever tasks you’ve skilfully delegated to them.

4. Handling money

Before I talk about this point, if you’re enjoying this video so far, go ahead and give it a thumbs up. It really goes a long way in promoting these videos! So thank you, and now let’s continue.

So, when I was starting my own business,  dealing with the business’ finances was my least favourite thing. I had to do accounting, pay my taxes, renew my licenses, stick to a budget, and the worst part - bookkeeping.  

Just thinking about it makes me want to pull  my hair out all over again. I made the rookie mistake of jumping headfirst into the finances without any prior knowledge of accounting.

Hiring someone who has perfected themselves in this field is the goal. Unfortunately, when I was starting out my business I didn’t have the luxury to do this straight away. You might find yourself in the same position.

My tip would be to keep a business journal where you write down all the financial needs of your business. Do this monthly. This is another area where you can find a surplus of free online courses to join.

I would suggest completing these courses before running your business so that you have some knowledge of accounting before you officially start.

5. Customer service

There are so many products and services I love and I keep going back to again and again because I feel like nothing else would compare to them. But, there have been a few times where I’ve, quite heartbrokenly, had to let that product go because of terrible customer service.

As humans, we are emotional beings and when we are left with a bad taste in our mouth because of a horrible experience, try as we might, we can’t let go of those emotions.

This is why you need to have top standard customer service. No matter how fantastic your product is, you can lose all those customers at the drop of a hat if you treat them badly.

Respond quickly to your customer’s queries. Be polite and patient. When faced with a rude or unhappy customer, stay cool as a cucumber and cleverly direct them towards a better emotion. Answer their questions with an even tone and maybe even throw in some jokes to lighten the mood (I personally love knock-knock jokes. You can never go wrong with them).

A little kindness can go a long way, and you’ll be shocked that those upset customers who you so charmingly helped, will be the first to sing praises about your product.

6. Adaptability

Flexibility, pliability, elasticity, po-tay-to, po-tah-to. Different words which mean the same thing: adaptability.

While the end goal will always be the same, you  need to have the skill to get to the finish line through different routes. Let’s use the pandemic as an example. So many import business were under great pressure.

So many of these businesses sank because they didn’t have the flexibility to reach their end goal by any other means. For example, they were reluctant to choose other suppliers to help replenish their stock. This rigidity forced these business to close.

If you look at any successful business, especially those who faced hard times during the pandemic but came out strong, you will, without a doubt, see flexibility.

This could be in the way of finding other stock suppliers, or a brand-new way of advertising yourself, or bringing in a whole new product that could be different from what you previously offered.

Assess what your business needs, and more importantly what you customers need and  incorporate that into your business. Digging your heels into the ground and saying no to change will lead to the inevitable death of your business.

7. Networking

You’ll be able to go through the prompts of registering an online business easily, but you’ll need some support and referral to help echo your business online.

I know that many  times we feel compelled to go at it alone, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You’ll need guys who will contribute great incite to your business.  

We all need support sometimes, so it doesn’t sound like a bad idea, anyway don’t let the opportunity to meet like-minded entrepreneurs slip your way cause there are a handful of business forums and events scheduled year-round.

Your network plays an important role in your business therefore, I would recommend setting high standards. Networking with great minds will secure opportunities also  connecting you to the business community at large.

There seems to be a misconception that  asking for help is a sign of weakness and that you can’t proudly call yourself successful if you’ve used aid.  

In the business world, you need all the help  you can get. Whether it’s for investments or to get into some fancy business conference, you need people who can guide you and vouch for you.

Networking is your friend. The more people you mingle with in your area of interest, the more help you can ask for. These people will be the ones who will attest to your business’ success and these are the people who will spread the news of your fantastic business savvy mind.  

You can also learn tips and tricks of the  industry from them to further boost your business. Go to as many mixers and networking events  as you can – you can spread the word of your business and simultaneously gain a lot of insight.

8. Social media management

We live in the golden age of technology. There are so many businesses who are running solely online; they don’t have any physical offices or shops.

These businesses have perfected theart of social media management. They know how to stand out online amongst all their competitors. The online market can bring in  a whole new stream of popularity and income.  

At first you can manage the online presence of your business yourself, but there are people out there who know exactly what online users want. They can clean up your social media sites so that it attracts the right  demographic.

Not having an online presence in today’s day and age is a death sentence so this is  another area where you should put your attention.

9. Expertise in your business

Being in the business industry is a competition. If you are solely starting an online business for money, than I’m sorry to burst your bubble but you won’t last long. In order to fight through the competition and come out a winner, you need passion, confidence and interest in your craft.  

If you are selling a service online, yes you  need to know the business aspect of how to sell yourself or how to advertise online, but  you also need to actually know the service. Find your passion first, become an expert in it, and then start the business. 

10. Pricing

A big fear customers have with online businesses is being defrauded. One example is having to pay ridiculously high prices for a subpar quality product. It is your role to surf the web and see what prices are being advertised by business who have similar products as yours.

Then, adjust accordingly to what you think is right for your business: should it be higher than the other businesses because your quality is better?  

Or, the complete opposite: your product is  better than anything out there but you want to sell it for a lower price because you think the market is missing affordability.

Beginning anything is daunting. This is where you need to let your inner self confidence guide the way. Start small but enrolling in online courses so that you can gain the skills you need.  

Then set out a 6-month plan of action. Take it day by day and before you know it, you’ll have a successful business!  

Don’t lose faith; you have the million-dollar  idea in your mind, now bring it to life. Until next time, take care!

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