Commanding your business and conquering the competition are worthy and potentially lucrative goals, but it’s easier said than done. It takes a solid business plan and nearly perfect execution to make that dream a reality, and there’s no shame in needing a little bit of extra guidance. These tips can help you handle the problems you’ll face in order to come out on top.
As more and more of modern commerce takes place online, the need for protection from cyberattacks likewise increases. Cybersecurity has become a staple of modern businesses, and that trend will only continue as e-commerce shows itself to be the future of trade. Protecting your company, your staff, and your customers during these online transactions needs to be a priority. There’s no one right way to create a safe online environment, but a VPN can offer you a variety of cybersecurity tools in one, neat package.
What is a VPN? The acronym stands for “virtual private network,” and it’s a tool that allows users to simulate a private network within a public one. This has numerous advantages and use cases, but the bottom line is that this prevents bad actors like hackers from getting your data. A VPN will obscure your IP address and encrypt your sent and received data so that hackers won’t be able to find you as easily and, when and if they do, they won’t be able to read any information they happen to collect. Many VPNs also come with antimalware software that can further bolster your security by protecting you from viruses. However, this isn’t always the case, and total protection almost always entails employing multiple methods and tools simultaneously.
E-commerce has been on the rise since its inception, and it’s easy to see why. Ordering things online, from the comfort of your own home, beats shopping in a physical store in most cases. However, 2020 and, with it, the coronavirus pandemic have incentivized consumers and businesses alike to engage with e-commerce even more, and the lessons learned during this time will lay out the clear truth that e-commerce is not only here to stay, but also destined to become even more ubiquitous.
Every business that wants to compete should have some e-commerce functionality. While it’s most commonly associated with online shopping, e-commerce has a place in a number of industries you might not expect. For example, restaurants that deliver can receive orders online, while sit down or carryout places can receive those same orders without the delivery element. Appointments can be made online, and doing so often doesn’t even entail paying for the service at the time.
The widespread proliferation of e-commerce has also opened up businesses and consumers to additional cybersecurity issues, however. E-commerce apps are becoming part and parcel with commerce these days, and these apps are quick, cheap, and easy to create thanks to application programming interfaces, also known as APIs. These APIs have no sense of loyalty, however, and are just as available to hackers as they are to you, making API security an important component of cybersecurity.
Likewise, e-commerce tends to take place on a company’s website, first and foremost, and this presents a problem in the form of exposed data. Encryption is a necessary component of any cybersecurity infrastructure, but it remains an optional feature for websites. Without encryption and decryption, your data or that of your customers can easily be intercepted, but the encryption renders that information illegible with the decryption key provided by the software.
It stands to reason that marketing an online business benefits from online marketing. However, social media is such a powerful tool that it comes highly recommended, regardless of the business model in question. In the digital age, social media marketing has surpassed traditional marketing venues in terms of audience size, for instance, meaning that prioritizing social media exposure is paramount. Social media platforms offer the kind of paid advertising you’d expect, but this is only the tip of the iceberg, because they also offer a variety of additional marketing tools at no cost whatsoever.
Businesses can use their social feeds to promote their products and services on a more consistent basis in much the same way that companies have historically used PR firms and press releases. Likewise, the metrics available on every social media post can provide a potent supplement to the market research that is so vital to commerce. Although not a native feature of social media, you can employ artificial intelligence for the purposes of sentiment analysis using social media posts as the primary means of extracting essential data.
There are countless things that can make or break a small business, because these companies lack the resources it takes to weather a storm. By employing the best tools and, more importantly, the right mindset, you can survive these obstacles and grow into a successful company.