Most online businesses these days starts up with just the single lone founder. He or she handles all the jobs required in a normal company such as Finance, Operations, Administration and IT. This also means that if these founders are not IT geeks, they will most likely use whatever they have at hand or are familiar with such as a @gmail.com or @live.com email accounts. They may even be using their personal email accounts. This setup may be OK for running the operations but in the vast space of the internet marketing, they will be excluded or out-competed by those with proper company email addresses such as @companyXYZ.com, websites and company phones. Just ask yourself : would you prefer to deal with an online business with the email address firstname.lastname@example.org or the other having a professional website with a proper email address email@example.com?
Why then wouldn’t these online businesses consider getting a proper email address, website, office address and office phone? It is usually (and most commonly) is because of this 4-letter word : COST. Most people have the misconception that it takes thousands of dollars to get these things up and running. Obviously, I’m going to tell it’s NOT going to be expensive. And I’m going to just list the 3 most impactful solutions to get your credibility up with the least amount of cost, with an average cost lesser than $300 per YEAR (in large caps just in case you may misread it.
1. Domain name
The domain name is the very first thing you need to buy. In fact, for an online business, you should check the availability of the domain name first before deciding on your company or product name. This is because your whole online identity will be based on your domain name. The bad news is that it may not be so easy to get a domain name if your choice with the global booming online business. For example, the domain name I mentioned earlier shoesrus.com is already taken. BUT, the good news is there are all sorts of domain suffixes or gTLDs (the letters after the dot in a domain name) available now. You could get shoesrus.online or shoesrus.sale or shoesrus.style. You can browse or search the available gTLDs on this website. And the list is growing by the month. There is even a .ing now, so you could get a domain name such as shoestravel.ing. There are even Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Spanish and many other non-English letterings made available now. So go crazy with your domain/company/product name.
Do take note though that your domain name does affect your SEO rankings. For example, if you are selling shoes, try to have the word shoe in your domain name or a type of shoe/footwear. Think of it this way. What do you think your customers will key in at the Google Search bar when looking for your product category? This is a reason why some companies actually buy domains for each product to maximise the SEO rankings when customers search for the particular product category.
The cost of owning a domain ranges from SG$20 per YEAR for a .com to SG$60 per YEAR for a .com.sg or .com.my. Feel free to consult us if you need to find out more about domain names at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Setup your email address
You shouldn’t just sign up for an email address. You should instead consider getting a Productivity Suite that normally includes a variety of features such as an email inbox, calendaring, online/cloud storage, online word processing and many others. You will get all these functions for a small price per year.
One popular productivity suite for online entrepreneurs is G Suite (formerly know as Google Apps) by Google. G Suite provides a full productivity suite and much much more. It includes e-mail, calendar, contacts, tasks, notes, word processing, presentation editor, spreadsheet processing, online storage, forms and website hosting just to name a few.
The big advantage of G Suite for entrepreneurs especially those still running OMO (One-Man-Operation) is that you can create multiple email address aliases with just a single account purchased. For example, you can create an email by your name email@example.com. You can then create a second email address firstname.lastname@example.org. One catch is that you only have one inbox. So emails sent to either email addresses enter into the same inbox. You’ll also have only one login (email@example.com in this case) thus you cannot (and should NOT) share an inbox with another person for security’s sake.
There are many other big advantages but the other one that I want to mention here is the integration with many other apps. One good example that I myself use is integrating my G Suite account with my accounting app Xero. All my invoice and quotation email conversations I have with my clients in G Suite are “automagically” tagged to the correct invoice/quotation in Xero within Xero’s interface! How good is that?!
Now, to the 4-letter word. The cost for a G Suite account is just US$50 or SG$78 per YEAR. You get all the apps available within G Suite. EVERYTHING. And they are always introducing new apps. The only limitation is the storage size of 30GB. You can always purchase add-ons to increase the storage size given. If you want to know further about G Suite, just drop us an email or PM us on Facebook. We’ll be glad to give you advise.
3. Office address and phone
You would think you need thousands to rent an office and get that address. I started out my business thinking the same way. Until I came to know about virtual office. These virtual offices allow you to use their office address for a small fee every month. There are add-on services such as forwarding your snail mails to you and getting them to answer your calls (for basic responses only, such as taking down messages or calling you to return back the call). The costs ranges from one service provider to the next, usually based on the “prestige” of the address. A virtual office address in CBD will cost more than one in the suburbs. I remembered paying SG$120 a year only for a “prestigious” address in the CBD. Cred points up by a million! I’ll go down to the office once a week to collect the snail mails.
So there you have it. All these for less than $300 but it will give a high positive impact on your business’ professional image and credibility. Now you can do your marketing and sales with confidence!