Start and Run an Online Business at Minimum Costs
When you start an online business, you have to spend a great deal of money to:
- DESIGN YOUR WEBSITE: You want to create a professional impression on your site visitors by creating a website that has been designed to provide a pleasing impression and is easy to use.
- DEVELOP CONTENT: You need professional graphics, product specifications, sales copy, a shopping cart and such content to flesh up your website to carry out your online business.
- PROMOTE YOUR WEBSITE: Unlike a new brick-and-mortar shop in a business district, visitors won’t see your shop and drop in to explore it. Your website will remain unknown till you bring it to the attention of Web surfers in many different ways.
All the above tasks, which are the special requirements for an online business, need significant sums of money. Any measures that can minimize the outlay on these, without reducing their effectiveness, should be welcome to an online entrepreneur.
One major opportunity for reducing startup and subsequent operating expenses for an online business is to hire skilled offshore staff from low cost countries. We explore this option in this article.
Specifics of Designing, Content Development and Promoting Your Website
What kind of specific tasks are involved in designing your website, developing suitable content for the site and then promoting it? We look at some key tasks involved so that you can specify the work to be done by your offshore staff.
- WEBSITE DESIGN: The website designer would create the (i)LAYOUT, (ii)NAVIGATION SCHEME TO MOVE AROUND THE DIFFERENT PAGES OF THE WEBSITE and (iii)SPECIFY THE TECHNICAL ISSUES FOR CREATING & MAINTAINING THE WEBSITE CONTENT.
- WEBSITE PROMOTION: This is a wide area covering many kinds of actions. Major elements of website promotion include Web page optimization for specific keywords, link building, paid search engine marketing, paid advertisements in popular portals, and/or websites offering complementary products, and so on. The link building activity mentioned above includes a wide range of actions such as directory submissions, blogs, participating in discussion forums and social networking sites, etc.
How Should You Go About Hiring Offshore Staff?
First, check the off shoring agency. This would typically be an agency in a developing country with lower costs of living, and hence lower wages expectations.
You can select an agency that itself is doing the kinds work mentioned above, i.e., website design, sales copy development, other content pages development, search engine optimization, link building work such as directory submission and article marketing, etc. They would thus have gained specific experience of what needs to be done.
Second, look at the agency’s offshore staffing practices and terms. How do they ensure that the staff you hire have the needed skills? How would the staff communicate with you? When would they work (this can be a problem where the offshore staff work in another time zone)? How many hours will they work? Will they be available even outside duty hours in an emergency? Would the staffing agency help you to manage the staff? How do their wages compare with local wages?
Finally, look at the training, qualifications and portfolio (if any) of the staff you are hiring.
If you attend to the above essentials, you should be able to hire competent staff and get good work from them at much less costs compared to obtaining the services locally in a developed country.