Welcome To The Real World! Moving Your Customer-Facing Business Offline
Online business is thriving around the world, and here in India it’s believed that there were over 20 billion US dollars’ worth of retail e-commerce sales in 2017 alone. And while once in the not too distant past there was plenty of discussion about how an offline business could move online and grow, the focus has now shifted: these days, everyone is talking about how to move an online customer-focused business offline instead! As The Times of India reports, there’s a lot to take into account: from hiring equipment beyond a laptop computer to thinking about renting some physical premises, there’s plenty for a customer-savvy entrepreneur who’s thinking about making the switch to do.
For most online traders or firms who deal directly with customers, the only equipment required to do business is a laptop and an Internet connection. But most offline businesses require equipment of some variety in order to get off the ground. If you’ve been designing artwork on your computer but you’re now shifting to pencil sketches, for example, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve priced it the cost of materials properly. Before committing to taking your business offline, then, it’s wise to do your research about how you’ll source your materials and how you’ll pay for them.
The needs of offline businesses can change from industry to industry, and one of the main examples of this is the question of whether or not to open premises of your own. A food blogger who has decided to open up a cafe, for example, will certainly need to either buy or rent premises, while a new bulk-item delivery service will need to consider hiring a van and getting a truck cover quote to protect the asset. For someone who is used to working either from home or even from their laptop while sitting on the beach, this can be a bit of a change - so it’s a good idea to get some advice from a professional or perhaps from an organisation like the SME Chamber of India before making any premises rental or purchasing decisions.
It may seem like the least interesting part of the process. But as mentioned above, insurance is very important - and if you already have it in place to cover your online work then you should also check whether or not it covers any potential offline work too. This is especially important if you’re hiring new specialist equipment or opening up your new premises to members of the public, as these often aren’t covered by simple online business insurance policies.
With all the talk about e-commerce and the online world, it may seem to many as though the trends are moving in just one direction. But it’s actually the case that many “digital natives” are now choosing to give the offline world a try - and that’s led to a spike in interest in everything from premises hire to van insurance. There’s all sorts to consider: whether you’re about to take the exciting step of buying a piece of specialist kit for the first time or you need to think about important admin details, there’s plenty to think about.