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Useful Tips to Start Your Online Business Successfully

Useful Tips to Start Your Online Business Successfully
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There are many steps to take before starting your online business.

A business in general has its own characteristics which all need to be conveyed to the audience in an effective and clear manner. Displaying these to the correct audience in the digital landscape can be extremely difficult, with countless others all competing for the same spaces. Below are a handful of tips to guide the creation of your online business:

1. Leadership

Before going out to realize an idea on the Internet, you should ask yourself if you really are willing to take on new challenges and to devote time, resources, and much of your patience to achieve it.

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You should be aware that online business rules are not the same as those for traditional brick-and-mortars. You need to keep up to date with the latest news in the digital landscape in order to steer your business to online success. Things change so quickly, so you need to be adaptable as a leader and a company so that you adapt to change, rather than crumble. The online entrepreneur will need to be innovative, creative, and light on their feet so as to stay ahead of the market and move forward towards success.

2. A Good Domain Name

Your domain name is the avenue through which you will identify your business on the Internet. A good domain name should be short and memorable, that clearly identifies what you are selling and most importantly, easy to type. Ideally, a user should be able to just hear it and know how to write it or spell it with ease. In fact, any word difficult to spell should be abolished. Finally, the extension “.com” is typically better than “.net“, because browsers are set to default “.com” (be aware that your domain affects the search rankings). Prestige also goes hand-in-hand with any domain that is registered as .com, so short, recognizable and punchy works best.

3. Business Research

Remember that the product or service that you’re going to be offering is likely to be purchased by users like you, so ask yourself with no agenda, would you or other consumers buy this type of product or service online and is it already available? If you can answer ‘yes’ to both of these, then you already have a foundation of demand to tap into. However, you will want to be sure to check and see how many competitiors are out there. If you ask yourself “Are all the needs of customers already fulfilled by others performing this service or creating this product?” If the answer to this is also ‘yes,’ you’ll need to come up with something very unique that will set your business apart, or may want to consider a new idea. There are a number of tools out there these days that allow you to analyze your marketplace to assess the competitiveness and how your competitors compare against you and one another. This allows you to segment your market fully to see where you can try to position yourself.

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4. Content Management Software and E-commerce Software

These are two essentials that raise your businesses offering significantly. Selecting a good content management software and e-commerce is a difficult choice due to the variety of companies out there, but it is important to pick those which are most appropriate to your business needs, rather than something overly complicated that you might not need. It would be a good idea to future-proof if you can, but don’t stray too far from your current goals either. Over 20 years ago, Bill Gates proclaimed that “Content is King” and this is still recognized as a foundation of best practice for building your own site. And hand in hand with this, you want to maintain a complete focus on relevance, so anything that can boost this is recommended. Standard e-commerce and content management systems are pretty versatile, however, you might want something more niche and specific to your business, like a church website builder. The beauty of the plurality of software companies is that there numerous offerings out there that you can tailor to your needs, regardless of how specialized your business is.

5. SEO: Search Engine Optimization

This is a mysterious art that is broken down into many different areas. Because there are so many areas which need to be monitored and tweaked constantly, the world of SEO can seem mind-boggling and intimidating to business owners. You can either invest time learning this yourself or consult with specialists who are geared up to tailor techniques to every kind of business- the choice is yours. The most important thing is to implement a strategy one way or another as, without one, you won’t stand a chance of securing enough traffic to your site to be recognized by search engines or your potential customers.

6. Avoid These Common Mistakes

– Offering the same products or services of your competitors: Remember that customers have different needs, tastes, and likes, so there should be a niche out there for you.

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– Not being original or creative: You need deep subject knowledge, fresh creativity, and a unique selling proposition. Many businesses do not stand out enough to get traction in their chosen area.

– Starting a business you aren’t passionate about: Do not only think about making money, you also need to love what you do, sell or offer (regardless if it’s a product or service).

– Ignoring or dismissing feedback and reviews: Do not dismiss these two aspects because they are a valuable tool to understand what your audience or customers need, think, or do. Consider having a customer service team as well.

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– Not thinking about a targeted audience or ideal customers: Doing good research is the way you get to know your clients better and then build a product according to their needs or choices. Consider that, the more you can target, the better, since it will be easier to identify with your customer’s needs.

If you have all you need and heed this advice, take a chance and start your own online business!

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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