Be your own boss: online entrepreneurship vs shopfront owner

When you decide to be your own boss, you need to choose to either start your business online, offline or a combination of both. The rise of technology has undoubtedly changed the landscape of business ownership in Australia, but experts say that human touch is far from becoming extinct. In both lay opportunities and even a combination of online and offline sales is possible in many ways. Let’s dive a little deeper into the options.

What does it mean to be your own boss with an online business?

Some of the most noticeable developments in the business world throughout the past decade have come from technological advancement. Cloud software, data collection, artificial intelligence, voice recognition, social media advertising and the importance of cyber security have each had their own impact on the day-to-day operation of companies. Increased connectivity within the industry is among the subjects. Embracing technology is not so much a choice as it is a reality for modern business owners. Just about every business is affected or influenced by technology.

To be your own boss in the online world means for many running an e-commerce business. A web shop in a certain niche like for instance children’s clothing, sportswear, travel-related products or any other market you can think of can provide you with a decent income. These days all processes for running an online business can be wholly managed online. Through fulfillment companies, you can manage your stock and shipping. This means that you can run your business from any location of your choosing. From your kitchen table to the tropical island of Bali or one of the exciting European cities. The only thing you need is a laptop and a decent internet connection.

Advantages of running an online business

When looking at the advantages of being your own boss with an online business, it’s the freedom that it provides you which is for many most appealing. Not only location freedom but even more so, the freedom to manage your own hours. If you prefer to work on Sunday morning and stay in bed all Monday: no problemo! Next to freedom, you can put all of your creativity into your business. Be creative and experimental in how you market your products, how you set up your processes and maybe create new products and set up exciting collaborations. You can add all the elements that are important to you into your online business and reach a broader audience.

Disadvantages of running an online business

The challenge of running an e-commerce business is the marketing side. How will you reach your target group? Especially for very competitive products such as make-up, jewelry and clothing, it takes a lot of persistence to establish your e-commerce business. However, there are multiple ways to run an e-commerce business besides having your own platform. Selling on Amazon, eBay or Etsy are great alternatives but you also need to build up a reputation. Other downsides that come with an online business can be that its very lonely. If you’re working all alone at your kitchen table you really have to make sure you go out and be social at other times. Co-working places offer a great solution though and they are quickly popping up worldwide! Renting a desk in a collective office is great for those wanting to keep up with an office-like work environment. The last challenge we feel you need to be aware off, but this is not necessarily related to online business, to be your own boss means: if you don’t do anything, nothing happens. This means that you will have to deal with the pressure that comes with that, especially at the start of your entrepreneurial career it can add a lot of stress.

Are physical businesses going out of business…?

Isn’t everyone going for an online business these days? Do people still go to physical shops to buy things? Well… YES! And it’s not only the ‘old skoolers’ who appreciate personal service and having their purchases in their hands before actually buying it. People still like shopping, going into stores and to see, feel and smell products before buying them. Especially shops that sell upscale or niche products. The personal service, the actual talking with a specialist about the products you want to purchase is of added value in these areas. Besides that, think about coffee shops, café’s, guesthouses and other hospitality businesses; they are all physical businesses that need friendly staff and owners with vision.

Advantages of running a shopfront business

To be your own boss with a shopfront business offers many advantages such as interactions with your customers, colleagues and probably suppliers as well. It’s really good for relationship building when you interact face-to-face with the people who work with you or buy your products. Customers appreciate friendly service, especially for niche or high-end products. Besides that, the social aspect on a personal level is also very healthy. Having your customers in visiting your business creates an opportunity to take away any hesitance they have, provide them with a great product experience and make them want to come back.

Disadvantages of running a shopfront business

It’s all how you look at it of course but having set working hours and maybe even having a uniform to wear take away a sense of freedom for many. Going into your business every day, even on days that you rather stay in bed, can create aversion. You really have to keep motivating yourself at all times, even when you are sick.

Why choose online or offline?

The characteristics of a successful business can often be a sign of the times. What may have previously engaged customers can just as easily be made redundant by the ever-changing nature of consumer tastes. Trends such as online shopping have forced retailers to update their strategies if they are to attract customers. This has included a greater emphasis on experienced-based shopping, with many stores now incorporating entertainment and activities. In this day and age, both an online and physical presence needs to be considered in the strategic development of any business. They talk in different ways and appeal to a different audience at different times. An online and offline presence can complement each other and work to offer different marketing opportunities to different market segments. An online presence is critical if a business is going to survive, but as humans, we are tactile and look for experiences and entertainment. Shopfront owners and online entrepreneurs still share common ground when it comes to the current climate. It used to be very vogue to be classified as an entrepreneur, but in essence, all business owners are.

Let GMO business brokers help you to be your own boss

If you’re interested in running your own business and would like to explore your options, it’s wise to discuss the choices and challenges you have with an established business broker. There are many opportunities out there and depending on your skill set, experience and interests a business broker is able to think along with you and guide you on your way to becoming your own boss. GMO business brokers has a proven track record of offering excellent guidance and service to potential business owners. Get in contact with GMO to explore your opportunities.


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