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5 Key Differences Between Small and Big Online Businesses


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In the big scheme of things, small and big online businesses aren’t much different. Both have the same end goals, and both are forced to contend with many of the same day-to-day challenges. Nevertheless, there are some definite distinctions that should be explored. Consider five of the key issues that set small and large businesses apart.

  1. Online Marketing

Yes, big and small businesses are both competing within the same digital landscape, but the marketing approach will vary based on the size, scope, and budget of the business. For example, let’s say that a large and a small business are both competing in the men’s shoe industry. The large business may have the marketing staff and budget to target broad keywords like “men’s shoes” and even “shoes,” while the small business is more likely to focus more heavily on long-tail keywords like “athletic shoes for men” and “black Adidas sneakers for men.” The size of your business will determine the most profitable course of action in terms of marketing.

  1. Web Design

Large businesses typically require a custom web build that is tailored to their needs along with full-time staff to maintain the site. The owner of a large business may employ a team of experts in Ruby on Rails, Django, or another large web application framework to support a fully customized design and back-end content management system. Small businesses, on the other hand, can typically benefit from an all-inclusive platform like WordPress or Drupal or an ecommerce platform like BigCommerce or Shopify. These platforms allow smaller businesses to design and maintain fully functional ecommerce websites without the immense cost of a custom build.

  1. Payment Processing

Big businesses process millions of dollars’ worth of credit card transactions and have the means to negotiate lower fees, set up their own payment gateways, and manage teams of skilled developers adept at managing PCI compliance issues, shopping cart transactions, and payment security. For smaller businesses, it’s almost always better to opt for a third-party payment processor that can handle a wide range of payment transactions while imposing minimal burden — and cost — on the business itself.

  1. Customer Interaction

Large businesses need to invest in customer service teams via chat, phone, and email, often on a 24-hour basis. Small businesses typically don’t have these kinds of resources, but they can nevertheless streamline customer communications by using a live chat app and designating specific business hours for guaranteed response.

  1. Legal Obligations

Although all businesses can benefit from incorporating, many smaller businesses may register as sole proprietorships with umbrella insurance to save money while still protecting their assets. Small businesses may also form a partnership or LLC to satisfy their legal obligations without spending a fortune. Large businesses, on the other hand, are usually required to incorporate, designate a board of directors, and satisfy a complex range of legal requirements in order to remain aboveboard.