The internet has revolutionized how we do business.

Today, starting a business is as easy as setting up an e-commerce website and promoting your product or service on social media. There’s no need to worry about renting or buying a physical space. You can start out from the comfort of your couch at home.

However, it’s no all bliss. The internet is a double-edged sword with the ability to propel your business to great heights or slice it into oblivion.

Eager to learn more?

Continue reading to learn how your business’s internet presence can build or destroy it

How Internet Presence Can Build Your Business

To start us off, let’s explore how the internet can be good for your business.

Reduce Your Operating Costs

There’s no doubt running a business online and having a solid web presence can significantly reduce your operating costs.

We’ve already talked about minimal startup costs, but there’s more. You probably know that marketing is one of the many costs a business will incur. However, with a good online presence, you might not need to invest as much money into digital marketing as you would with little or no internet presence.

Here’s an illustration.

Let’s your business page on Facebook has 100,000 fans. Every time you make a post, it’s fair to conclude that at least half of your fans will see it, especially considering the social network’s massive number of daily active users.

Now take another business with a measly 50 fans. For it to reach 50,000 people like you, it has to invest in sponsored posts or Facebook ads, which cost money.

One of the keys to running a successful business is keeping overheads low. The internet easily enables you to do just that.

Easy Access to a Vast Market

When you’re running a brick and mortar store, you can only target the people who live or work in your locality. If you want to expand your business and access a wide market, you will have to set up multiple stores in various locations – which is a costly undertaking.

The internet has changed all that.

With just a single business website, you have access to a global market. Anyone can access your website from any part of the world, see your product and service offerings, and make a purchase. The only limitation is whether you have the capability to ship your product to wherever your customers are.

Assuming you can ship globally, then the internet would have given you global market access. Without it, you would have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to just access a comparable market size.

And you know what access to a larger market means? More sales.

Makes Brand Building Easier

Brand wars have existed for as long as businesses have existed. However, the internet has taken them to a whole new level.

Today, a brand just needs to fire off an “offensive” tweet, and in no minute, there will be full-scale brand war online. These wars aren’t bad. They are a show of digital supremacy and can help a brand expand its presence.

In other words, the internet makes building brand recognition easier. It’s not uncommon for a small brand to start an “online war” with a bigger brand. And if the bigger brand swallows the bait and responds, it would have brought more attention to the smaller brand – free of charge!

Greater brand recognition is good for business. You’ll reach more people, some of whom will be willing to try out your products and services.

How Web Presence Can Ruin Your Business

Now let’s flip the coin and see how the internet can rear its ugly head and take your company to the cleaners.

Offering a Bad Digital Experience to Customers

Having a successful offline brand doesn’t necessarily mean you will transfer the same success online. Yes, taking a business online is easy, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can make mistakes that hurt the customer experience.

For instance, let’s say you’ve created a business website and you’re ready to launch it for the first time. After hyping it up among your target consumers, the big day comes, then, for whatever reason, the site crashes or loads slowly. 40 percent of consumers will abandon a website that loads slows. Most will never come back again.

If your digital experience is less than stellar, you will lose customers. This means lost sales. And you know what can happen to a business once sales start slumping.

Negative Online Reviews Can Kill Your Business

Most online consumers will leave a review after a shopping experience.

While positive reviews will elevate your business and keep more customers coming your way, negative reviews will not only hurt your brand reputation but also keep customers away. Considering that the majority of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase, you can see how negative reviews can spell the end of your business.

The good news is you can monitor online reviews and take steps to address the negative ones. With a good review management strategy, you might be able to weather the storm stoked by bad reviews and comments.

Hackers Are on Stand-by

When you take your business online, you’re literally taking it to hackers’ doorstep.

43 percent of online attacks target small businesses. The more popular your business is on the web, the more likely it is to attract the attention of hackers.

Here’s the worst news. A successful cyberattack can cost you about $200,000, which explains why most small businesses that have fallen victim to hackers go out of business soon after the event.

The Internet: A Double-Edged Sword That You Must Handle with Care

The internet is a crucial business tool. Building a solid internet presence will cut your costs and improve your sales. However, if you misuse the internet or fail to protect your company from online threats, the business could collapse.

Stay hooked to our blog for more valuable business tips and insights.

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3 IPOs to Watch in 2016

Whether you are curious about stock or any other form of financial trading or simply enjoy seeing a success of the startups – IPOs are a great to watch. Not only you get to learn how undervalued or overpriced a certain company was, but you also get to see a rapid development a company can achieve with the funds it raised.

We are entering the middle of 2016 and so far there has not been too many interesting IPOs. When looking at the financial industry, it is possible to highlight the listing of the largest Dutch bank – ABN Amro. Next to this, a few ECN currency brokers flipped an IPO this year.

X-Trade Brokers, just got listed roughly a month ago, which signified the largest initial public offering in Poland during the last 365 days. Also, a leading UK brokerage, CMC Markets, started listing its stocks in February this year. Nevertheless, this IPOs weren’t too exciting. There is much more to expect in the coming month from the tech sector.

The most promising

Airbnb, a company that lets everyone lend their house, flat or a room is expected to start issuing stocks this year and this is certainly the most interesting IPO to keep your eyes on. The reason for this is very simple – apart from nearly $25Bn valuation, Airbnb actually generates some significant revenues.

What also tells us that this IPO will be a successful one is the lack of legal issues behind the business processes. Even though some laws in Germany were prohibiting the usage of such peer-to-peer services, the whole legal framework behind Airbnb is rather favourable. In addition to this, there is quite a strong support for the shared economy nowadays and, hence, this company might be seen as the safe-haven investment.

The most interesting

Do you remember last time you used a landline for calling? Well, thanks to this company, quite soon you might not remember last time you ordered a taxi. Yes, you got it right, we are talking about Uber. Even though there is no certainty whether Uber will flip an IPO this year, it is quite probable.

What makes this IPO the most interesting one? The whole legal situation behind Uber. Clients love it for its pricing and simplicity. Taxi companies hate it. Without a doubt Uber is a successful company, yet its operations strongly depend on the legal decisions of the local authorities.

While strikes against Uber happen frequently, those are the local regulators that will have a final word in determining Uber’s success in terms of market coverage and, hence, revenues.

The most amusing

Without a doubt previous two companies are here to stay. Both of them offer quite an advanced technology that simplifies people’s lives and provide cost benefits. However, there is another company that looks for an IPO this year, and many investors are laughing about it.

We are talking about Snapchat, the company that allows millennials communicating with each other, sticking funny noses on their selfies, the company that struggles to produce hardly any revenues.

While some investors laugh about this IPO, others see it as a great opportunity. Snapchat may not look like a goldmine, but it certainly has some potential. The main question is whether investors will be patient enough to see Snapchat implementing powerful advertising solutions while sustaining the growth of its user base.

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