Is starting your online business really tough? 8 myths debunked!
Technological progress is such that anyone can now start a business online: your online business can be up and running overnight – or at least the digital part can be. For the practical side of your launch, we invite you to contact our partner Unizo.
But since quite a few people are reluctant to take the first steps towards starting their own online business, we would like to take a closer look at 8 misconceptions about online businesses!
#1 Making money online is not safe
Selling something online is still viewed with some suspicion. And sure, a bit of suspicion is never a bad thing, but if you follow the right steps and take the necessary precautions, your own online business will be perfectly safe.
Most entrepreneurs worry about the financial aspect of their online business. How can I be sure that I will receive payments correctly? And what if customers fail to pay?
Fortunately, there are reliable payment service providers for this. Just as you use a payment service provider in your brick-and-mortar shop to offer payments via Bancontact or Visa, you do the same when customers want to buy products in your web store.
A payment service provider (such as Klarna or Mollie) makes it possible to accept various payment methods on your web store. And if customers fail to pay you, the payment service provider will take action as well!
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In addition, e-commerce is becoming more and more popular, and the payment methods available are also much more secure. The more people pay online, the more effort is put into the security of online transactions.
You may also be concerned about other aspects of your security: in your physical outlet, you can install an alarm against burglars, but how does that work with a web store?
For this, you can turn to a reliable hosting provider who offers webspace for your website. Just like the landlord of your business premises has to ensure that all security risks are kept to an absolute minimum, your hosting provider does the same for your webspace.
A web hosting provider will thus protect you against hacking, for example, but also against DDoS attacks.
However, the rule of thumb for any entrepreneur, whether on the Internet or on the high street, is of course to use your common sense!
Combell's web hosting customers enjoy a secure website or web store thanks to the Combell Shield.
#2 An online business takes time
Every entrepreneur chooses how hard he or she works. In any case, you do not have to sit at your computer 24/7.
Better yet, some people expand their own physical shop with an online business because it generates a kind of 'passive income'!
At Combell, we have many customers who create a web store precisely because they have too little time. Just like Karlien, who started a web store for office supplies with INSIDR.
And that is actually not such a crazy idea: when your web store is up and running, all you have to do is make sure your packages are ready for shipment – and of course pay attention to your online presence by doing some online marketing.
But you can also save time in your online marketing efforts by using handy tools. For example, you can create fun images to promote your products with the help of Canva.
Keeping in touch with your customers – by sending them a nice e-mail for their birthday, for example – can be done automatically using the e-mail marketing tool Flexmail.
With Combell, each customer gets a free basic Flexmail account.
#3 You have to be quite IT-savvy to start your business online
If you want to start a website or a web store from scratch and programme it all by yourself, you do indeed need some IT experience.
BUT: nowadays, most entrepreneurs can do this much more easily. For example, you can use a platform with which you can create turnkey websites or web stores. SiteBuilder or ShopBuilder are such online software platforms.
Technical knowledge is therefore not a requirement: knowing where the on button of your computer is located is enough to start an online business 😉.
The number of features in website creation software has become very large, making it very easy for you to create your own professional website or web store.
Incidentally, if you have some technical knowledge, you can also get started with WordPress.
That being said, nothing stops you from hiring a web developer, who will build your website for you! In that case, we will be happy to get you started – we know a few who will definitely be a good fit for you. So do not hesitate to call us!
#4 Starting an online business is expensive
Every entrepreneur knows that when you start a business you always have to invest something. But starting your online business is much cheaper than starting your own physical business!
When, say, you open a shop in a physical location, there are a lot of costs involved. Just think of the rent for your premises, your fixtures and fittings or your energy costs. That alone will cost you a pretty penny!
Whereas starting your own online business will only cost a fraction of that. You pay for your hosting and your website, and that's it!
And, as mentioned above, creating that website is quite inexpensive. If you want to get into e-commerce, you can build a web store for about 30 euros a month, which is not at all expensive if you compare this to the cost of a brick-and-mortar shop!
The days when doing business was really expensive are long gone. For a small amount of money, you can now start an online business, and with some extra cash you can even advertise on Google or social media, as well as keep in touch with potential customers through (free!) e-mail marketing, which allows you to send e-mails about a discounted product or any other exciting news.
Of course, you can also invest in online courses that will teach you how to optimise your online marketing campaigns, for example, but these will pay for themselves.
In short: if you compare the overhead expenses of online businesses with those of physical shops, you will notice a huge difference.
At Combell, we offer everything you need to take your own company online – from domain name to the software you need to build your own website, not forgetting hosting and e-mail addresses.
#5 Your website must be 'next level'
Starting an online business obviously means that you should focus on having a great website. But do get ahead of yourself!
Entrepreneurs often think they have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the design and features of their website. To those people, we always say this: Keep It Simple!
The people who visit your website like a simple design that leads them to your products in a very clear way. If you offer physical products, a few pictures and some additional information are all you need to make your web store a success.
With digital products (such as an e-book or an online course), it is important that the path to a download is as direct as possible.
So, make sure you keep everything as simple as possible: first, you have to lay the foundation for your website or web store. Once you have done that properly, you can always scale up along the way.
The most important thing is that your website or web store inspires confidence, with beautiful pictures of your products and flawless text. If you are not the most talented writer, you can always hire a copywriter, who will make sure that each product is presented as it should be.
#6 You must have an original idea
Here is a quote from director Stanley Kubrick we would love to share with you, as it is definitely one to remember...
Everything has already been done. Every story has been told, every scene has been shot. It's our job to do it one better.
We are not trying to convince you to shoot a movie, but whatever you plan to do, it is up to you to add your personal touch to your business. Because everything has been done before, but not by you yet.
Other companies may offer a similar product to your own, but you may offer a better service, or have a better view of the market. Or maybe you have a current job where you have gained a lot of expertise on that product!
#7 Competition on the Internet is fierce
Whether you have a physical business or an online business, competing with rivals is never easy. But do not let that put you off. Because an online entrepreneur has a major advantage over someone who has no online visibility!
Now suppose, when you are fully up and running, you start using online marketing and placing paid ads on search engines and social media. This means that a lot of people will see your name. Compare that to the number of potential customers who see the name of your physical business on the street!
You can also make a difference in your communication. With e-mail marketing, for instance, you can easily keep in touch with customers! Or show your expertise through a free webinar: that way, people will know that they are dealing with a true professional.
#8 Growing means working harder
In an ideal world, growth should clear the way to less hard work! Digital growth is a great way to step back from your daily work routine and make more general adjustments.
Digital growth (such as a web store, but also digital collaboration) is to a large extent 'worry-free': you leave the digital side of things to a reliable partner, which means you have more time to focus on your core business.
There is no need to be afraid of starting your online business. The risks are quite limited, you can reach (a lot) more potential customers, plus an online business can even generate a passive income.
So do not be discouraged: a proper approach will get you a long way!
Combell will help you dot the I's and cross the T's
From your own e-mail address to a comprehensive cloud solution, Combell is able to assist you with every step of your digital growth. As the market leader in Belgian hosting, we come into contact with entrepreneurs every day and, after more than 20 years, we know how to assist them best.
Combell will manage your hosting with the greatest care and attention to security and performance. Because a reliable IT partner is essential for boosting your sales!