No matter how small or scrappy your home-based business may be, it has a wealth of value-add options at its disposal. These six tried-and-true ideas are easy to implement and proven to boost value for operators and end-users alike — providing the former follows through on their promises.
1. Add a Seamless Online Payment Portal
There’s no shortage of reputable online payment portals out there. It’s up to you to evaluate your options and choose the service that best fits your needs.
Whatever you choose, there’s little doubt it’ll come in handy. In a world built on the shifting sands of instant gratification, consumers favor merchants that make it easy to choose, purchase, and receive the delivery. The linchpin of a seamless online shopping experience is an efficient payment portal that gets the job done fast and accurately. Even if you sell services, adding online payments to your website is an effective “tell” that you’re open for business.
2. Invest in Interactive, Engaging Product and Service Descriptions
This is another must-have for any merchants serious about selling online. Even boring or tough-to-explain services deserve colorful, media-rich digital descriptions that prospects simply can’t ignore. Use high-res photos with mouse-over zoom, short demo videos, dropdowns and pop-ups that control information flow.
3. Work with a Prototyping Partner
Speed up your product development cycles and give prospects something tangible to whet their appetites by tapping a rapid prototyping partner with a range of 3D printing capabilities. If you’re planning a low-volume manufacturing run, choose a partner that offers production assistance as well. This is a great way to add value and keep costs low in the early going, before you have capital to invest in your own production apparatus.
4. Use a Third-Party Fulfillment Provider
There’s simply no need for you to pack your own boxes — you’ve got more important things to do. Use a third-party fulfillment provider like Fulfillment by Amazon to scale your logistics operation without duplicating effort or turning your garage into a makeshift post office.
5. Add Bespoke Consulting Services
To paraphrase an old adage, there’s more value in teaching a man to fish than plucking it out of the water for him. If you can’t scale your service-based business fast enough to keep up with customer demand, offer value-added consulting or education that gives prospects the tools to solve their own problems (or get started, at least). A subscription-based webinar model is a great way to juice recurring revenue too.
6. Host Hands-on, Community-Driven Events
Get customers and prospects engaged at hands-on events: demos, panels, Q&As, you name it. You’ll be limited at first by your budget and organizational capabilities, but there’s no shame in starting small. You can even write a book about your experience as a business owner! Putting yourself out there as a thought leader — in the real world, not just the online entrepreneur-sphere — is among the best investments you can make in your growing business.
Value Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
By themselves, these six ideas to add value to your home-based business won’t turn a flailing enterprise into an overnight success. Taken together and mixed with a healthy dose of organization and determination, they just might add up to something more than the sum of their parts.
Just remember that adding value is a marathon, not a sprint — it’s less important that you implement these ideas than that you follow through on their delivery and give your customers every reason to come back for more.
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