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Small Business Essentials: Start Here

Thinking of starting a business on line? If so there are two things you absolutely must commit to before ever opening shop on the web. Any one who refuses to realistically consider these two factors should not be in business. That may sound a bit rough, but the glut of businesses on line that ignore these factors will soon come to an end as customers demand service in return for their dollars.

The first factor in determining whether you should even be doing business on line is your ability to develop a site that addresses the needs of prospective customers. Is your site intuitive? That is, is it sensitive to the needs and abilities of the average person using the site? After all, what makes sense to you might be as clear as mud to the next guy.

One inexpensive way to test is to ask acquaintances of varying abilities to test drive your site. Observe their interactions with your website and ask for feedback throughout the process. You must be open to receiving honest critiques and be willing to use that information to make improvements. The easier your site is to use, the wider audience appeal it will have.

The other essential consideration, and the most important, is your willingness to commit to providing good customer service. If you are a novice to business, take the time to educate yourself. Furthermore, if you want to make money but don't want to deal with people, you should get a factory job or something that doesn't involve the general public, because business ownership is not for you.

One of the first rules of doing business is that word of mouth advertising will make or break your business and bad news travels fast. If you doubt this, just ask one of the millions of people in network marketing. Their primary form of advertising is word of mouth.

If you don't want to answer the phone, either hire someone or outsource the job. Again, if neither one of these are an option you are willing to consider, you should not be in business, especially on line.

There is nothing more frustrating to customers than trying to navigate a difficult website, except encountering nonexistent or worse, unresponsive customer service when trying to repair problems encountered maneuvering through a difficult site. Talk about adding insult to injury!

If you are willing to take the time and effort required to build a good site while providing quality customer service, your chances of succeeding in the world of on line business long term are better than most. Remember, word of mouth advertising is essential to your success, and good word of mouth comes from satisfied customers.

Karen Walker is a wellness consultant and author. She works from her home in western Montana. She and her husband, Lynn McCormick, maintain websites to help those whose lives have been upset by catastrophic health events. http://www.newamericanfamily.com

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