How to shift Offline Business to Online

Change is the only constant phenomenon in this world. Businesses that rely on outdated practices rarely get to the top. When it comes to running a business, the wisest decision is to follow the market trend or else you will get lost in translation. In the current era, businesses thrive only when they keep their customers’ needs in consideration and follow the route of innovation. You may have the experience of running a business that has followed the conventional brick and mortar model for decades, but that does not mean that keeping the same route will ensure success for the next decade too. The world is changing constantly and so are customers’ needs. It is high time to realize that the current trend of conducting a business also needs to change.
Let us take the current scenario for argument’s sake. No human on earth had foreseen this pandemic we are currently witnessing. The surge in COVID-19 cases has taken each and every corner of the world by storm. From each fragment of nature to every area of human life, let alone businesses, everything has been devastatingly affected by it. This air of uncertainty has left businesses and businessmen seeking alternatives. There has been significant increase in closure of traditional businesses, especially the ones with physical stores and no online presence. This makes one think: How to keep one’s business afloat? Would shifting a business online be beneficial? Will it, in any way help cope with the ongoing crisis? Well to understand that we just need to look at the facts. 
This is a world of digitalization, with changing market trends, the buying behaviour of consumers also changes. Businesses that were initially built on brick and mortar model are taking steps to enter the technological revolution for the sake of staying in the market. Having a presence online is more important now than ever before. This would not just help you stay in business but will also generate leads for more revenue and bring you much needed success.
Doing online business might sound hard to a lot of people but it really is not. You do not need to overwhelm yourself by falling into the technical jargons that the process of transforming into a digital business comes with. Here we are going to give you some essential yet easy tips that could give you a head start if you want to make this transformation.

Marketing Research
Before you decide to shift your business from offline to online, you need to do extensive market research. Marketing needs of online business are way different than the needs of offline business. Say you have a store, you might be able to shift some of your walk-in customers to your website or whichever platform you choose, but to get more traction of customers you need to figure out what platform suits the best to your niche or type of product. Go through some data about how advertising works on particular platforms, what are the marketing needs and needs of your customer and if they align. Conducting a research beforehand will effectively get your business a solid standing.

Choosing a Platform
There are a lot of social media sites that are being used for business. If building a website seems daunting to you, you should first put your hands on a platform that you are comfortable working with – Facebook and Instagram being the most famous for business are good options for starters. These are not only free but also give you more room to experiment as well as time and experience to understand the dynamics of running an online business.

Plan, Plan and Plan Some More!
A business plan is something that comes in handy in case events do not turn out as expected. Before you make a shift from offline to online, rework your business plan. The most important thing is to document it, the future of your plan should not be in air bubbles but in a record, which you can refer to when making important decisions. Keep the following things in mind when you are working on it. 
•    Develop a plan for maintenance for every platform you choose
•    Figure out how you are going to run the logistics
•    Configure your payment process
•    Get inspiration from other e-commerce leaders
•    Put your focus on a single platform in the beginning
•    Keep products and pricing in check
•    Develop return and refund strategy
•    Consider lead generation
•    Focus on giving good customer service
•    Pre-plan your advertising cost
If you are still unsure how to make that shift happen then you can get business consultancy. There are many consultancies in Pakistan that provide services carved out according to your specific needs for a fraction of the cost. You can get social media handling outsourced or get a whole new operational website for your business. And do not worry it does not take much time. You can get a running website from within a week to a month’s time; it all depends on how much you are willing to spend. 
For those who are running small scale businesses from home and are intrigued by this whole new world of doing things virtually but do not have money for professional consultancy, well there is no need to worry! There are many startup companies who are there to give you consultancy on how to run your business online for free. One of them is Business Beans Co, led by market leaders who have the motto to support entrepreneurs in Pakistan by addressing their business needs and helping them grow.
The online world is full of business opportunities and is the sure proven way to maximize your customers without spending millions.
Keeping the current fold of events in mind, many countries have decided to extend the lockdown for months. Pakistan, right now, is at a calamitous stage, with thousands of new cases every day; the future looks uncertain. Who knows when the lockdown will be imposed again or what the state decides to do in case of emergency? It is high time to realize the absolute shift in business and market trends. If you are still unsure about it, just do some research about businesses that have been least affected or have generated the most revenue during this pandemic. That might give you a good head start before coming to a decision. 

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