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10 Reasons Why You Should Invest In An Online Business Today

10 Reasons Why You Should Invest In An Online Business Today

The advent of the Internet has created a new and exciting economy, which by its sheer scope and size has changed our perception of traditional ways of doing business. Multinational companies like Amazon and E-bay have come up thanks to the Internet and now dominate areas where, just few years ago, traditional brick-and-mortar companies once ruled.

Even small- and mid-sized companies are making impressive profits by taking advantage of the Internet to conduct businesses. One survey by Harris Interactive, a leading market research firm, found that 81 per cent of small businesses that had an online presence during a holiday season reached new customers, leading to an increase in sales and profitability.

Similarly, another study by Gartner research found that 30 per cent of small businesses with a web presence and fewer than 20 employees generated more than 25 per cent of their revenue online. If these statistics are not convincing enough, here are a few more reasons why you should seriously consider investing in an online business, if you haven’t already.

1. You get streamlined company branding

In today’s digital age, people simply don’t take a company or business seriously if it doesn’t have a website. People often quickly check out a company’s product or service offerings and related content online to make quick judgments on the business before they engage with it. That’s why your company needs to have a presence on the Internet, whether you conduct business online or not. Investing in an online business presence is a great way to streamline and bolster your company’s image and brand.

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2. You have low start-up costs

Once upon a time, setting up a business online cost business owners a small fortune. Today, however, getting online is not only cheap, but also becoming easier to accomplish thanks to emergence of new technologies. Free website-building tools and open source Content Management Systems like Drupal and WordPress allow you to build a website for free with templates. For less than 10 dollars a month, you can have a full-fledged, self-hosted corporate site with all e-commerce features in place.

What this means is that the playing field for small businesses to compete with major corporations has been leveled. It’s up to you now to step up, take advantage of the low start-up costs, and get online.

3. You have lower risk on investment

Online businesses are generally lower risk than brick-and-mortar businesses because setting one up doesn’t have to cost a lot. Another reason online businesses are low risk is because of their adaptability. With the right investment in terms of online marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and so on, it is possible to turn a losing business into a profitable one in a relatively short amount of time.

There are also a myriad of unique ways to make money from your website aside from creating and selling your own products, such as affiliate marketing. This means new ways to create an income stream online.

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4. You have reduced overhead and operation costs

Because online businesses generally aren’t tied to a location, they require less work to maintain. This is particularly true in cases where physical products, distribution, rent, and other costs are non-existent. In the retail industry, for example, a shop owner can browse and purchase goods for resale from suppliers around the globe without leaving the comfort of his computer desk. How’s that for convenience?

By simply adopting an e-business solution, your business can reduce more than 5 per cent of your travel, repair, maintenance, and operation costs. This 5 per cent savings can turn into 50 per cent of you company’s net profit!

5. You can do business 24 hours a day all year round

Another huge advantage of investing in an online business is that it makes it possible for you to do business 24 hours a day year round. For example, you can set up a virtual retail shop that never closes, meaning you can literally make money while you sleep.

Even when your business closes for the day, automatic online systems can ensure sales don’t stop. In some cases, automatic sales during off-hours can be more than your regular sales during business hours.

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6. You have added flexibility

Thanks to the Internet, if you need to work from home, you can. In fact, you can do your work from just about anywhere in the world, as long as you have a reliable Internet connection. This remarkable flexibility is another huge attractor to many entrepreneurs and business owners. It means you can run a profitable online business while also exploring other ventures, or spending more time with your family.

7. You have access to a global customer base

With an online business, you instantly become a global player. That’s because customers from all over the world can learn about and purchase your products and services with just a few clicks of the mouse. For a nominal fee, you can also get access to large audiences on hundreds of e-marketplaces on the net. AMR Research has reported in the past that more than 1.3 trillion dollars worth of goods and services flow through B2B marketplaces online. You really don’t want to miss out on this growing piece of the pie.

8. You have more advanced marketing tools

Marketing is one of the most important components to any business. What makes marketing online more attractive is the tremendous number of marketing channels you can take advantage of. Blogs, podcasts, videos, social media, email campaigns, white papers, eBooks, and a variety of other assets can all be used to attract your target profile. Admittedly, marketing on the Internet is becoming more expensive, but tracking and measuring your return on investment is much easier and advanced.

By taking advantage of tools like Google Analytics and scoring data from online marketing companies like Moz, you can monitor not just your customers, but also your business competitors in real time. This empowers you to adapt fast and change your approach and strategies as needed. If conversion rates are low, for example, you can make some tweaks to your website to increase conversion.

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In addition, targeting specific demographics has never been easier, especially with the rise of social media advertising. You can now define the audience you want to target in precise detail, and begin to market to those people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services.

9. You can give better customer feedback and support

Advancements in Internet technology also mean that online businesses can now provide better customer support and deliver information more efficiently. Just a couple of years ago, companies used to require days to deliver product or service update information to their customers. Things have changed since then. Today, if your business is online, you can add or make changes to your company info or product description virtually within no time, publish on your site and share with customers on social media.

You can also communicate with customers in real-time about your products or services online. This means improved customer engagement and satisfaction, and ultimately increased profitability for your business.

10. You have improved networking opportunities

It can get pretty lonely running a business. That’s because business owners spend most of their days in their offices working. In the past, a business owner’s only option was to join a local chamber of commerce in order to network and learn from fellow entrepreneurs. Thankfully, the Internet has created a global community of peers only a click away who can relate to the problems, stresses, and excitement of running a business. You don’t have to join a local chamber of commerce anymore to network.

Simply log on to the blogosphere and join relevant online chat rooms, social media groups, and forums to connect with other business owners, investors, and entrepreneurs. Today, a person in Silicon Valley can exchange ideas regarding promotional and marketing techniques with someone in the same line of business based in Jo’burg, South Africa. It’s even easier than ever before to reach out to gurus and celebrities in your space and work with them online. Certainly an exciting time to get online!

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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