An offline route to an online business

The merits of applying brick-and-mortar business acumen in your online business model

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An offline route to an online business

Aren’t you amazed when you hear people are succeeding online? Nowadays we feel we can burst forth towards our success on our own. Ruminate on what type of online business you would fancy doing, then just search ‘’How to …’’ on Google and there you go, you have already begun your path towards your success. You can pick up some do’s and don’ts from the numerous established websites out there, there is no need to rack your brains.

Is an online business easy to work out?

Well, you may easily step foot in that business or industry. But whatever product or service you offer, it may sooner or later be offered by someone else and perhaps in a much better way than what you can offer. What we see in result, is people diversifying their online commerce, aiming to have manifold income streams. This diversification has resulted in ferocious competition across the whole spectrum products and services. Entering any business or professional field will need thorough preparation.

One would suspect that those who achieve success are people whom users find most helpful within a few minutes and therefore have a higher probability of making a sale. But that’s not always the case.

“This diversification has resulted in ferocious competition across the whole spectrum products and services.”

What is the attitude of today’s online world?

Today, people strive to meet their clients online and may even line up towards longer-term plans without meeting them in person. This approach may allow to onboard more clients, given the price works out for them. But is this the best way to start a solid new business?

There is some risk of clients ending the relationship with little to no fanfare, perhaps when they can get a cheaper or better product or service elsewhere. On the contrary, looking back at the old days, when the internet and e-commerce did not exist, the most critical asset a person had was his solid business contacts. Having secured a relationship of mutual trust over the years, they could meet for supper and talk about longer-term business agreements, especially after quaffing a Bodegas-like wine. This secured a safer flow of income.

“Knowing exactly what your clients need shall set you apart in today’s online world.”

How can the offline world help in today’s online business?

To answer with an example, say you are an expert in advising people on how to build a website. There are plenty of competitors out there who may know much more about website development than you do. So, the ideal way to compete in this space is to repeat what people did in the old days: find out who needs you and reach them in person.

“Be prepared to show your clients how they can benefit more with you rather than with others.”

Aim to open a discussion and meet them offline if you can. Be prepared to show your clients how they can benefit more with you rather than with others. Spending time offline getting to know in detail what your clients need, while your online competitors don’t have access to such nuanced and implicit knowledge, is what will set you apart.

Your niche is that you will be able to customize your product or service in the way your client wants. If they believe they can benefit from your expertise and are comfortable dealing with you, you are already halfway on your path to success. What is left is for you to deliver your product or service in a professional and timely manner.

by Michael McBride

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