Online Business vs Offline Business
The decision of whether to get into a traditional offline business, a modern online business, or some combination of the two, is one of the most important decisions you can make. Each has pros and cons that should be considered.
Now it’s time to take a look at some of the differences and similarities between online and offline business, so you can decide if running an online business is the best option for you.
Some businesses simply don’t work as online businesses
All businesses should advertise online and have an online presence, but only some can actually work as online businesses. Any kind of business that requires you to be physically present in a particular geographic location at particular times on a regular basis is not suitable to be operated as a purely online business.
On the other hand, there is almost nothing that can be done as an online business that could not just as easily be done offline. The advantage of being online is that you can greatly extend your market, reaching a global audience of billions.
Some businesses work a lot better as online businesses
If your business sells really big ticket items like airplanes, boats, or industrial machinery, you can expect to make a lot more sales online than you ever could if you simply relied on people walking through the door of your offline sales office. The available market of people wanting to buy such things is comparatively small and widely dispersed. Advertising your products online means you can reach this market more easily and effectively.
Offline business usually operate on fixed hours
With a few exceptions like 7-eleven, the offline business world tends to trade only on certain days at specific times. Potential customers who want anything from your business outside of those times have to be patient and wait for your business to open, or they have to make the choice to shop online instead.
Online business are always open
When you run an online business, everything is always available 24 hours per day and up to 366 days per year. The upside of this is you have a lot more opportunity to make sales. The downside is your customers expect you to be always available to help with their problems, so you don’t get to have time off unless you hire somebody to handle all that stuff for you. This requires considerable resources, so the smaller your business is, the less likely it is that you’re going to get to enjoy lengthy and relaxing vacations.
People have far more trust with offline businesses
When customers buy from offline businesses, they usually don’t need to worry about being scammed, and they have a really good opportunity to thoroughly inspect merchandise before paying for it. In the world of offline business, you don’t normally have to worry about losing sales because customers don’t trust you, and you don’t normally have to do anything to convince them they should trust you.
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Offline businesses are solid and dependable, but have limited reach. Online businesses have potentially massive reach, but they involve a typically higher level of risk due to the greater competition. The comparatively low cost of online business makes it an attractive option for start-ups. Overall, online business is much simpler and less expensive, and you’ll have a lot less to lose with an online business that fails compared with running the same business as an offline venture.