I love internet, I absolutely do. It is not just a channel of exchanging information and data, but it also enables business in various scales, and lowers the entry barrier for startups. Setting up a business online is not only easy, but it can be very inexpensive to maintain compared to its offline counter-part. If you think of it, with a little over $100 you can have your own website running for a year.
The most important thing for an online business is the ability to reach people in every corner of the world. Well, at least as long as they have access to internet. If you think of a startup business before the internet era, it was very limited to the location. And without substantial investment, taking over new markets was very costly. Through the internet we are able to target markets outside our physical reach almost as easily as markets within our physical reach.
Another great aspect of running an online business is the easy access to remote workforce. Many startups begin with very humble financing and every penny and cent saved is a big win. In the traditional manner, a startup would need a physical office, where the hired staff would be working. It can be a huge saving for a startup not to have an office, but having the staff working remotely from a location they themselves desire. Also now that the team is no longer tied up a location, they can be in different countries, and team meetings can be arranged via Skype or or other VoIP service with basically zero cost. Although I think that it is important to meet at least once with every staff member that you hire.
Not only does online business enable having the team work from different location, but also easy hiring of freelancers, to do smaller projects on-demand basis. There are a number of good services for sourcing freelance workforce
Product / Service
If the business is selling a product, a physical shop or a showroom might not be needed, and the company can operate basically from a garage, fulfilling orders coming through online channels. Services can be marketed, and provided through the online channel easily, although it may not be viable for all services.
Without knowing better, one could assume that online environment was designed for marketing. I am very passionate about online marketing, having worked in the field for years. After engaging in online marketing, it doesn’t really make sense why people still spend a lot of money on offline marketing. Well, it is justified in some cases, but many companies are still spending unnecessary amounts offline, just because of an old habit.
What makes online marketing so appealing is that everything can be tracked and measured. In online you can track every impression of your ad and measure every click and conversion of your ads, which isn’t possible, if you think of a billboard on a freeway.
Online offers an easy testing ground for new business concepts. You can build a landing page and drive paid traffic to it to see, whether it works or not. You can also test different versions of ads, landing pages, headlines, product displays etc., with simple A/B tests. Testing is easily conducted, without spending too much on marketing budget.