8 Things You Must Know When Moving Your Business Online
Blog / 8 Things You Must Know When Moving Your Business Online
As a result of the pandemic, many businesses have been forced to cease their operations and move their platforms online in an attempt to assure a reliable, stable revenue (during the pandemic and for the future). If you are used to conducting your businesses in-person and are unsure on how to move your platform online, reading this article will hopefully clear several things up.
- Is your business ready to be shifted online?
First of all, you need to determine if your business is ready to be shifted online. This involves considering the following:
Will your arrangements be able to adapt to an increased reliance on digital technology?
- This includes web hosting, debit or credit card processing, email, videos and chat features.
- Is your organisation fitted with the bandwidth needed to handle increased web traffic?
- Do you have adequate online storage capacity?
- Is all your important data regularly backed up?
- Do you have access to IT support?
Review your prior service agreements
- For services you already have in place, there may be Service Level Agreements (SLAs) or legal arrangements involved as part of the contracts.
- It is worth re-examining these in order to be fully sure of the resources you believe are in place to help you with the shift.
Device security and services
- Even if you have managed to securely move your business online or if your organisation was already an online business, it is likely that your daily operations have underwent various changes as a result of the pandemic.
- If you are shifting online, your staff may need to use their own devices creating new risks. Our blogs ‘Vulnerabilities in Remote Working’ and BYOD highlight these risks and provide suggestions for ensuring secure practices.
- Further blogs that provide in depth information regarding secure online practices include ‘6 Ways to Protect Your Company’ and ’10 Steps Towards an Effective Cybersecurity Risk Management’.
- Are you aware of which areas need more attention?
These questions will hopefully direct you to the areas which require more attention:
a. What technology do you currently use?
What IT assets do you operate, manage or own? Is it your job? Is it your service provider’s job? Do you instead have a team dedicated to IT management as part of your company?
b. Does your enterprise use cloud services?
c. Do you have access to IT assistance?
How will your business resume in the case of an IT failure? Identifying the services, you already use and the recourses available to help you in the case of online difficulties will help you prepare on how to deal with these issues.
d. Do you have a set of cybersecurity proposals in place?
It may be helpful for you to refer to the NCSC’s Small Business Guide to help you formulate a list of effective security policies for your business.
e. What are the regulations that you will need to follow?
If your business needs to process PII (Personal Identifiable Information) online, you will need refer to GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). If your organisation needs to process card payment, the PCI (Payment Card Security) Security Standard will need to be referred to.
f. Do you have cyber-insurance?
What will be affected by the change of circumstances? For example, remote working, management of your online business (whether it is intended to be temporary shift, permanent shift or a shift to be upheld after physical re-opening as an extra revenue) or outsourcing of essential business functions.
- Moving your products online
Prior to moving your business online, you will need to adapt your products and services to provide in the digital place.
For many businesses, this transition can be simple for example, retail business owners moving their products online. In this case, pricing is something that will need to be re-examined before transferring the products online. In some cases, prices for the products online are reduced or kept the same with additional shipping costs being asked.
If your business is a service provider such as teaching, you may need to reduce the costs as customers will be willing to pay the equivalent price for in-person training.
- Building or improving your website
Your customer’s interaction with the website will be a determining factor on whether they choose to purchase your products or the services your organisation offers and therefore, more time and resources should be directed towards website building or redevelopment.
To develop or improve your website, there are a range of options including:
- Hiring a web developer if you haven’t already done so.
- Using a website builder such as Squarespace to build your own website (if you do not need any custom functionality).
Whichever option you choose, you need to consider:
- Your brand’s design.
- Responsiveness for example, the difference in the layout change and usability on smartphones.
After your company’s website is ready to use, it would be good to provide a rating scale and options for customer feedback to make further needed improvements example, improving needed user interaction for smartphone users.
- Choosing a safe platform to process payments
You need to be able to provide a secure platform for your customers to feel safe with their purchases.
There are viable options that enable:
- Protection of your customers financial data.
- Feeling of safety among your customers regarding their transactions.
- Quick receiving of the transactions.
E-commerce platforms for example, Shopify allows you to receive credit card payments or payments given using other common methods whilst encrypting payment data to protect your customer’s data.
If you do not wish to use your website to process payments, you can also choose to sell your products on an online market place such as Etsy. With this option, you will not need to manage your customer’s data and payments processes.
Transferring your accounting and invoicing to a cloud service can provide:
- A simple method for you or staff to manage the financials.
- Access to the information regardless of the device you are using.
- Another safe method for your customers to complete transactions.
- Improving your online presence
Social media is a great tool that can be used to find and attract customers to your site and as a business leader, you will need to decide which online platform is more beneficial to use as a marketing tool. For example, Instagram will be a good platform for you to share and promote your products however if your organisation is a service provider, starting a YouTube channel to share and explain your expertise and services will be a better option.
If your business is known locally, Facebook will be a good platform to promote your organisation’s products or services as well as provide updates.
If you have the budget, investing in digital adverts such as Google AdWords or Facebook ads will help you find more customers, share messages and encourage potential customers to visit your website.
- Don’t forget emails
Email marketing is useful for connecting with your customers, providing them with updates and encouraging them to view offers and discounts. When a potential customer views your site, it would be good for them to be provided with multiple ways to be added to your email list for example, a sign-up option before a purchase.
From there on, you can continue to advertise your services, products and special deals to clients using email in order to boost sales for your online business. Examples of email marketing platforms include MailChimp and AWeber.
Make sure that your email’s design is consistent with your company’s design and branding as it is important for your customers to have the same interaction with your company.
- Use Metrics to help you make your decisions
Once your business has successfully shifted online, you will be able to access various metrics such as Google Analytics which will tell you the source of your web traffic. This will help you improve your business strategy and help you make better decisions regarding budget spending.
Furthermore, if one of your coupons more popular with your customers, the email marketing platform that you have opted for will have detected the increased clicks and relay this information to you, sharing which things will not need to be changed.
Hopefully, by now you are aware of the steps that need to be considered in order to successfully transfer your business into the digital space. If you wish to receive advice regarding safe security practices and receive reliable cybersecurity assessment services, accurate cybersecurity threat detection and more, contact Securiwiser.
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