After you have made your decision to start your own business, you need to decide on the kind of channels that you will use to reach your customers. You can choose between an online business, a traditional brick-and-mortar business, or some combination of the two.

Online Business or Offline Business

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There are pros and cons for each type of business, and it’s important to take both into consideration. Ultimately, the type of business you choose to pursue should personally satisfy you, provide you with expected profits, and minimize your risks.

Offline business

Pros:

  • Reliable schedule — A brick-and-mortar store operates on a fixed schedule. You open on certain days of the week, and have established hours of operation. This gives you time to spend the rest of the day with family or enjoying hobbies.
  • Seeing is believing — Customers tend to have more confidence in brick-and-mortar stores because they can physically see products on display and take them home after their visit. Another advantage is that people don’t have to wait for their products to be shipped.

Cons:

  • Start-up costs — Brick-and-mortar stores entail a bigger initial investment. You will need to buy or rent a physical space and purchase your baseline inventory.
  • Shoplifting — With physical retail establishments come concerns about shoplifters. It’s not a matter of “if” but “how much” inventory can you count on being stolen? You’ll need to work that into your numbers because it will happen.

Online business

Pros:

  • Inexpensive — With just a little bit of capital, you can start selling online. You can begin with a small inventory and increase it once you start making money. Some online models, like dropshipping, don’t require any capital at all.
  • Accessible marketing options — Through strategies like SEO, you can easily lure visitors to your website. If you are armed with the proper strategies, you can then convert visitors to customers.
  • Inventory diversity — Your options for selling in a physical store are more rigid. It either requires more capital to fund inventory, or you have to stick to a theme to get the feng shui feeling right within your store. With an online store, you can sell a broad selection of items.

Cons:

  • Round-the-clock hours — An online business is open 24/7. While you can set your hours that you tend to your site, there’s the possibility of it to break at any moment, customer complaints can come in, etc.
  • Distractions — The online selling world is constantly changing. It can be tricky to stay on task rather than getting swallowed up by different demands from customers and competition from fellow-sellers.

In the end, the best type of business is the one that suits your interests, financial capability, and time constraints.

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