Managing an online business is in some respects just like managing an offline business, but to be honest I truly believe it is as time consuming as you make it. For example, your online business could be open for trade all day - deciding how you will manage this is down to how much time and effort you want to put in. Managing an online business is all about time, delegation and planning. There are only 24 hours in a day - all of which unfortunately cannot be worked, so you have to work out how you will best utilize and use your hours to manage your online business.
Time management is essential and for this I strongly recommend that you create a schedule or a plan - as this is one of the best business planning tools I can recommend for managing your online business. On your time management plan I feel it is best to write down and include everything that needs to be done and by when. This will help you see what needs doing to or with your online business thus helping you manage your online business all the more efficiently and effectively.
When running an online business you have probably already realized that you can do everything yourself! However, is this always the best way? For example, do you want to spend all of your time running your online business, or do you want to spend your time managing your online business. The answer is probably managing your online business, as this will allow you to expand, grow, develop and make more money. So, sometimes it is best to delegate work and perhaps even hire out work, as this will save you time and stress that can be put into managing your online business.
To manage your online business you need to think of everything and anything, and you also need to be savvy by taking advantage of what's around you. For example you could use online software and book-keeping packages to manage your accounts. You could also take advantage of other technology freely available on the internet such as online planning tools and alerts which will help with your time management.
Just like an offline business an online business also needs the following things to be managed: distribution, costs, suppliers, distributors, promotional and marketing plans, sales strategy's, website monitoring and management, cash flow management, online and offline reputation, customer service, visitor monitoring, traffic monitoring and also little things that can take up your time such as answering emails. To manage your business in the best way possible think about how these will be both monitored and managed, for example will you be responsible, will you outsource, or will you perhaps delegate?
The main thing to remember when managing an online business is to know your limits. Know what you can do and what you can't, know what your good at, and what you need to work on. Online businesses often move a lot quicker than offline ones so its essential you manage your time and resources effectively to ensure your online business is as successful as it can possibly be.