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Making Money Through an Online Vs Offline Business

In today’s current economic times, many people are looking to start a business in order to gain financial freedom and free themselves from the uncertainty of a day job. There are many choices to make when starting a new business and every business is different, each taking a different path towards accomplishing their goals.

Before you can move forward on your entrepreneurial journey, you must first decide whether your business will be an online or offline venture. There are many benefits to each operational structure, but your model and access to capital will play a critical role in determining which structure to use for your business.

Historically, most new businesses start by opening a physical location where customers and clients can interact with the business and purchase the businesses products and services. In this age of the internet, physical businesses are considered “Brick and Mortar” because they are housed in physical buildings. The benefit with offline businesses is that an entrepreneur can build trust and credibility by showcasing their store, office, or other place of business. Having a central business location gives customers the impression that a business in credit worthy, stable, and credible.

Building trust with an online venture tends to be more difficult to accomplish simply because there is no exclusivity in the online world. Everyone has the ability to create a website instantly, and consequently, anyone can portray themselves as a legitimate business providing goods and services. There is less accountability for online businesses because the business may not have a physical location and therefore there is no “offline” jurisdiction that can mediate a customer’s complaint or issue toward a company. This lack of accountability can make some potential customers leery to conduct business with a company that is strictly online and it will take more effort by the entrepreneur to ensure that credibility and trust are consistently being built with potential customers.

Although offline businesses can build credibility with customers, this comes at a steep price. Offline businesses usually operate with a large overhead costs including rent, staff, phone, internet, office furniture and supplies. Payroll costs associated with hiring a staff and rent costs can increase the pressure on an offline business to operate profitably because of these overhead costs. These overhead costs remain constant regardless of whether the business is performing well or not.

Online businesses can relieve the stresses caused by high overhead costs. Unlike offline businesses, a virtual business has very little start-up and on-going costs. All one would need to start a business online is a computer and internet access. There are numerous websites that allow for you to create your own online stores for free; all you need to do is supply the product.

The inexpensive cost of starting a business online also carries over to marketing costs. Offline businesses generally have to market using offline marketing strategies in order to generate customers to their business. These marketing channels are typically Television, Radio, Newspaper, Phone Book, and Billboard advertising. All of these marketing channels are effective but they are expensive and generally are not well targeted towards a businesses ideal prospect. However, marketing on the internet to promote and online business can be done quickly and inexpensively. Potential customers are all over the internet and all savvy online businesses have to do is position their business directly in front of their ideal prospects using a variety of traffic generation strategies.

Technology allows you to quickly scale and grow your online business. Utilizing the internet and technology an online business can communicate with thousands, if not millions, or targeted prospects at the blink of an eye. Your website can be open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and your entire sales process can be automated allowing you to have more freedom to enjoy the fruits of their business. An online business is also not location dependent like an offline business. You can have access to your online empire with nothing more than a laptop and internet connection. You can also have access to customers from around the globe as customers from all over the world can have access to your business through your website.

The reality is that you can create a successful business that is either online or offline, but the real way to grow a business is to implement both online and offline strategies into your business model. If you are just getting started and you have limited capital, then starting your business online makes the most sense. By beginning with an online business, you have the option to generate revenue in a variety of ways with minimal risk or capital requirements. As your business grows, you may decide to expand into new market segments and establish a physical presence offline. This may be the time where you begin to create a business plan for your growing business and initiate a capital raising campaign.

In all honesty, when you have a successful and profitable business, the sky is the limit. Rather you start an online or offline business, you will still need to apply the basic fundamental principles of business. Regardless of your operational method, you must dedicate yourself to starting and growing a successful business. This will require constantly learning, implementation, creativity, and sacrifice. Building success is hard work and it is going to take time to grow your business to a level in which it can sustain itself and provide you with the freedom and income that your are looking to obtain.

Overall, in this new global economy, an online business will bring you advantages that simply can not be obtained with an offline business. An online business will provide you with an opportunity to build a company with little cost and risk. Couple that with the fact that your online business will be accessible to target prospects across the globe and I am sure that you can see the potential in having an online business. As your business grows, you will be able to scale quicker and enter into new markets faster than your offline competition. Online businesses are here to stay and should be the starting point for any aspiring entrepreneur seeking to stake his claim in the world of business.

How to Sell Your Business for More

At some point a business owner considers selling their business. Sometimes it is just a fleeting thought. Sometimes its a thought of “I dont need this anymore, get me out”. Other times its a well planned out progressive process. You want to sell your business- how do you sell it for more?

This sounds like a fairly straight forward approach, but just as the selling of a business process can be very involved, the question of how to sell it for more firstly needs definition. I am a business broker based in Florida and speak to many many business owners about the potential sale of their business. I also sold my own business several years ago.

Just consider the simple analogy of having a rusty bike in the garage with flat tires that you want to sell today. You put it out at the end of the drive way put a For Sale sign on it- what do you think it will sell for? How can you sell that bike for more tomorrow than you can today?

Selling Your Business For More:

Selling your business for more can be a very good thing and very reasonable goal.
Trying to sell a business for more than it is worth can ultimately result in your business not being sold at all.
Setting the Goal today to improve your business, prepare it for sale so that it is worth more after your improvements is probably your best approach
Wanting to sell your business for more than “what you heard a local competitor sold for” can also be a mis-guided path.

So selling your business for more is a reasonable and understandable goal. How do you get more for your business? Start today preparing your business for sale. Like so many of your other important business decision, prepare yourself a to-do list and systematically address those items. Below are some items you will want to include on your to-do list to help ready your business to sell for more. Ask and honestly answer these questions about your business.

How are your financials? Are there some unusual entries on your P/L that have escaped needed adjustment? Are all sales accounted for? Do you have a good clean P/L statement? For smaller businesses Do you have a P/L and Balance sheet?

How reliant is your business on you. What can you do today to help your company be more about your company and less about you.?

How documented are your systems, procedures, policies, pricing structure?

Is your customer base as diverse as it should be? How reliant is your business on a few key customers. And again do those customers do business with you the business owner or with the company?

Do you have the opportunity to add recurring revenue streams to your business, but elected to not pursue? Do you have some contracted customers that you just haven’t updated contracts with?

Spend some time to meet with some of your trusted advisers. Don’t rely on information you hear through the grapevine about this person selling their business for this amount. Talk to your attorney, your accountant, or visit with a business broker start to really learn the marketplace. Have you scraped the rust off your bike?, painted it? oiled the chain? pumped up the tires? put an ad in the newspaper? on the Internet?- Is your bike worth more today than it was yesterday?

How do you sell your business for more tomorrow or next year than it is worth today? Start today preparing your business for sale.