When you first decide to set up your own business, and you plan for it to be an online business, it’s easy to believe that everything you do is going to be online. While you may operate the majority of your business online, it’s important not to assume that everything is going to be online. Because a huge part of you running your business is going to be done offline. Whether you have an online store or you sell a service largely online, you also need to cover off all of the physical aspects to your business too.
To do this, you’re going to want to first of all identify what that is, but then also take action to stay on top of things. And while many of your operations can be done online, they’re also something that you’re going to need to consider, and weigh up the pros and cons of doing things offline vs. doing them online.
So if you want to ensure that you can cover off all of the operations and vital areas of running a business, you’re going to need to make sure that you’ve thought about all of the areas below.
First of all, you’re going to want to get your business equipment lined up. Whether you’re selling products or consulting, you’re going to need a range of things to help you run your online business. Of course, first, you will need a computer or laptop so that you can actually get online, but you may also need other devices too. You may want to consider whether you need a phone line, printing and photography equipment also.
Next, you’re going to need an office space. When you work for yourself, go freelance, or become your own boss in business, it’s often really refreshing to be able to be flexible with your time. You can work when you want. But this is something you only feel at first. Because you soon realize that you need to have more structure to be productive. And creating an organized home office is a huge part of that.
But you may also find that having a home office isn’t sufficient. At least not after a while. When you start to grow, or if you have manufacturing to do, you may need some commercial real estate to get started too. So make sure that you know what your physical space requirements are from the start. Or, have a plan in place so that you know when you move on to somewhere more commercial when the time is right.
Next, there’s storage to think about. When you consult or work freelance, you may believe that you don’t need a lot of physical storage for your business, but that isn’t always going to be the case. You can often find that you need space to store books, paperwork, files, and more. And for this, you need to plan out your storage space. Bookshelves, shelving, and cabinets are going to help you here, and can often ensure your office looks homely too.
Similarly, you may need to have some kind of filing system in place alongside your physical storage. Many businesses need to work with a data storage solution that suits their setup. This is likely to be the case for you too. Although there are many online cloud options to consider, you may also want a physical filing solution, like a backup drive, just for peace of mind.
Although you may not need staff right away, especially if you’re consulting or working freelance, as your business grows, there’s a high chance that you may need to take on some help. And when you need staff, you’re going to need a hiring process that you feel most comfortable with. Whether you need support for your consulting, or specialist members of staff to run your online store, this is something you have to keep in mind from the very beginning.
Another physical aspect to your business setup is often advertising. In today’s digital age, it’s easy to believe that you can survive with online promotions alone. And some businesses can. But if you have big aspirations and you want to be able to grow quickly, and ensure that you’re taken seriously, offline advertising can be a big draw and should be something that you give serious consideration to.
Following on from that idea, you also have events to consider too. Not every business will want to partake in events, but it can often be important that they do. When you want to be able to put yourself out there, network, and ensure that your business is seen at the major industry events, attendance is mandatory. What’s more, you may also want to throw your own events to make waves. This could allow you to promote your business and ensure that you’re a leader in the industry too.
This next point is closely related to the idea of having staff. Again, if you plan to stay solo for a while, this may not matter that much to you. But when you do have members of staff, whether that’s soon or in the future, you should definitely think about your team building aspects. Because when you do have employees, it’s important to ensure that they’re not only happy, but performing well too. Team building days and events can certainly help with both.
And finally, one of the most important physical and offline aspects to your business is going to be networking. And it is true that you can network online just as well as you can offline, but that’s no excuse for cutting out you offline networking altogether. Networking can not only help your business professionally, by allowing you to get your name out there and opening the door to opportunities, but it can help you as a business owner. You can often learn from people that have more experience than you, and even find a mentor. And this wouldn’t always be possible without your offline networking capabilities.