4 Strategies to Streamline Your Online Business

Running an online business is challenging and often time-consuming. While there’s a huge potential for success, it’s essential to streamline your workflows and maximize your efficiency.

Here are four strategies to help you on the way to avoid friction losses. 

Automate Your Bookkeeping 

To begin with, it’s crucial to tackle bookkeeping – one of the areas of business many online entrepreneurs find to be challenging, if not straight-out intimidating. Getting your bookkeeping in order will help you keep track of all of your accounts, and make your life easier come tax season. 

The best way to streamline your bookkeeping is by automating it using bookkeeping software. While many solutions are enterprise-grade, there are now specialized tools for small- to mid-sized businesses as well as solo entrepreneurs. Plus, many platforms also offer functionalities specifically targeted at virtual businesses, such as Shopify bookkeeping or managing invoices for online coaching sessions. 

A solid bookkeeping software will automatically track your outgoing expenses, make invoicing a breeze, help you track your business accounts, manage your payroll, and generate reports and overviews at the push of a button. 

Brush Up on Cybersecurity Workflows 

Another essential area when it comes to streamlining your online business is cybersecurity. 

Over the past few years – and especially since the pandemic – cyberattacks have skyrocketed. Increasingly, hackers are not just targeting large enterprises and governments, but also individuals and smaller companies. Online businesses are particularly vulnerable to breaches. 

Being the target of a successful attack is devastating. Not only is the financial fallout significant – on average, a breach cost businesses $9.45 million in 2023. It can also result in a fatal loss of customer trust. According to recent statistics, 60% of small businesses that get hacked go out of business within 6 months. 

So what can you do to protect yourself and your business? 

As a first step, you need to step up your cyber defenses. While most businesses use antivirus, that is usually the extent of it when it comes to cybersecurity defenses

At the very least, you also should invest in a team password manager, a virtual private network (VPN), and financial fraud monitoring. The good news? There are several modern cybersecurity solutions that provide a comprehensive combination of these tools. 

Going beyond investing in cybersecurity software, though, you need to launch a thorough review and get your team up to speed. Make sure that all your team members have enabled two-factor authentication wherever possible, that they can recognize phishing attacks, and that their passwords are up to complexity standards.  

Integrate Team Management Software 

The next area to tackle are the workflows within projects and between your team members. One of the major challenges of running an online business is to coordinate a virtual team, often spread out across multiple time zones. 

Team management platforms can help with that. Not only can you assign tasks and define dependencies between them. You can also share files, get an overview of project progress, automate workflows, and reach out to team members who may be lagging. 

Even if you run your online business as a solopreneur, using team or project management software can be a boon. It can help you keep track of multiple projects you work on in parallel, and to enhance your own productivity. Plus, many project management tools also include time tracking functionalities, which makes invoicing easier. 

Centralize Your Communications

Another area to streamline is business communication. Providing efficient channels for internal and external communication is key. 

The easiest way to simplify your business communications is to opt for a platform that provides unified communication, combining channels like direct messaging, live chat, voice and video calls, email, and video conferencing. These platforms eliminate the need for your team members to keep up with notifications from different apps, splitting their focus. Instead, they’ll be able to access all their conversations, both within teams and with customers, in one central dashboard. 

Plus, many industry-standard business communication platforms also come with an arsenal of additional tools and functionalities to make your life easier. These range from automatic call transcripts and call summaries to integrations with other apps, like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. 

Finally, having a centralized communication platform also helps you scale your business, as it’s easy to add and manage users. As you grow, some even provide call center functionalities

The Bottom Line 

On your way to business success, streamlining your workflows is essential. It’s also a continuous process of adjustment, with your needs changing as your business grows. 

By following the strategies above, you’ll be able to avoid the most glaring friction losses many virtual businesses struggle with. Take into account your unique needs and business set-up, and invest the time and effort to review your progress periodically. Ultimately, this will help you to boost your efficiency and your overall productivity in the long term. 

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