By Paul Barrs
It’s a big question, isn’t it? Is there a difference between online and offline home business? Well yes, it is a big question… but no, it’s also not.
It only becomes “big” if you’re the one asking it and you find yourself going around and around in circles… should I run an online or offline business? I’ve always been offline, but people say online is the way of the future etc etc.
I had these discussions once, back in 1998… when I after much debate I made the decision to put my home business online.
But here’s the thing… even if you *do* run an online business… you’re still going to have to do many “offline things”. And you’ll find that the differences between online and offline home business really aren’t that much.
You’ve still got to plan your time. You’ve still got to get yourself up in the morning, look at your to-do list and take action on that list. Many people fall into the trap of thinking that if it’s online then it’s going to run by itself. This is a myth. You still have to set it up, plan it out, arrange it, and put it into place. You’ve still got to seek out new partners, new opportunities, and new endeavours.
Just like in offline business.
You’ve also still got to manufacture your product. You’ve got to plan it, design it or write it, package it, test it, and perfect it. Even if your product is a digital delivery eBook, Video or other downloadable product – it still need to be worked!
The only difference between online and offline home business when it comes to product is that if your product is digital and delivered by download…. you don’t have to re-stock it. If your products are pack and wrap delivery… there’s really no difference at all.
What about book-keeping… still the same? Yep. Unless you want to get into trouble with the tax man that is.
How about communications… the same? Absolutely. 10 years ago you would have been well ahead of your time if you used email and other electronic communications, but these days you’re a dinosaur if you don’t. Fax is going the way of the Dodo, SMS and tweets are taking over, and for the moment eMail rules supreme. But it makes no difference whether you have an online or offline home business … you will still have to communicate with your customers, your service providers and your partners.
There is however one difference… and yes, it’s a big one, and it’s the only one worth considering –
Do you want people coming to your “home” or do you want them coming to your website? Where will you have your “shop front” (if you need one)? And here’s the thing… this will be determined by your product.
If you run a home based physiotherapy business, whilst you can support your customers with online documents, hints and tips, you cannot *deliver* your service online.
But if your home business is accounting and bookkeeping… then with the right software… yes, you *could* have all materials delivered to you online. But you’re still going to have to do a bucket load of work offline, don’t you think?
So the best question isn’t, “is there a difference between online and offline home business”, because the simple answer is no. The better question is “can my product be delivered online or offline in my home business?”
Answer this, and everything else will be answered as well.
Just remember this; people are people, customers are customers. Even though you may service them “offline”, you can still support them “online” at the same time. Communication is the key to success in any business.
So talk to them, regularly, online and offline.