Can Small Businesses Compete Online?

I once heard a friend describing the Internet as offering a “level playing field” for businesses. He was suggesting that businesses who operate online have a low level of costs when entering the market-place. This means that even the smallest firm has the opportunity to compete.

But is this really true? If I started an online book store, for example, could I really hope to compete with Amazon? Without an extremely large budget, it certainly seems clear that I couldn’t hope to operate on the same scale. It’s unlikely that my business would have any real impact on the Internet giant. But it certainly might be possible to create my own niche.

This is where many small businesses are finding success online. You won’t necessarily read about them in the newspapers, or see much about them on the television. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not being successful. The reality is that they are operating on a smaller scale than the businesses who usually manage to hit the headlines.

Looking at some of these smaller businesses, it can be noted that they often have a number of factors in common. Many of them keep costs low at first, often by being based in domestic properties. They may be family-run and it’s likely that the owners work a considerable number of hours each day.

Hard work, on its own, isn’t enough to create success. It’s also necessary to have a very clear strategy. That should include all aspects of the business, from selecting products to marketing them to customers. Understanding what your customers want and what you can provide is often the key to success.

It’s far too easy to over-extend, believing that it’s necessary to hold an enormous amount of stock.

Looking at Internet trading, it’s also clear to see that many companies spend far too much money on building a website and far too little on marketing their service. Creating a website that is never seen is unlikely to be a useful route to success.

Instead, you’ll need to think about your marketing strategy from the outset. How are you going to attract potential customers?

There’s a good chance that you’ll need to do much of the work on your own. Getting seen online is all about adding great content to your website, engaging on social networks and submitting your website to relevant directories.

This type of work isn’t always exciting, but it will provide the benefits that you’re looking for. If you really want to compete then you’re going to have to come up with a strategy for success.

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