Brick and mortar business are the traditional business that requires the physical presence of a business in a building or structure, while internet business only requires you to have a computer, necessary skills, and reliable internet.
The brick and mortar business has been in existence since time immemorial, while internet business is fairly new. When the two businesses are put side by side, each offers its advantages as well as some drawbacks, which is what we will discuss in this article.
Let’s start with the brick and mortar businesses
Advantages of brick and mortar businesses:
Sense of trust
Walking into a store brings more of a sense of trust in a customer. Physical presence increases the legitimacy of a business, and the fact that you get to meet with your clients face to face helps even further.
Most people also prefer seeing the wares and possibly having a touch before they pay for them. This is especially true for electronics, clothes, and jewelry.
Location as a marketing tool
This is a major advantage for the brick and mortar business. Having a physical address is a marketing tool in itself as people can easily walk or drive by, leading to increased sales. They browse through the wares, pick what they like and pay.
All you need is a good location and good word of mouth. So, look for the perfect location and make your wares or services appealing enough to have your customers come back and also spread the word.
Disadvantages of mortar and brick businesses:
High startup capital
Brick and mortar business requires high start–up costs due to the requirement for rent, and possibly, employee wages. It may, therefore, be important for you to consider lower cost alternatives as you test the market if it is a startup. For instance, if you are a dance instructor, you could rent out space at a fitness center, which will be much more affordable than an entire studio.
Long working hours
Brick and mortar business owners have to work long hours, especially at the beginning to ensure that the business kicks off on the right footing.
Sometimes, it helps to delegate some of the tasks to your employees and allow them to make the necessary decisions, although you have to be available for supervision.
Now, let’s shift focus to internet businesses
Advantages of internet businesses:
Low startup capital
The major advantage of an online business is the low startup capital. It is much cheaper and more economical to start an online business, and it could cost you $25 or less per month. This cost will depend on your budget because some established businesses can spend up to millions each year in promoting their websites.
You may not need a website to start with, you can advertise your wares and services on sites such as Ebay, Amazon, and Elance. You will be able to sell without a large initial investment, so the risk at the end of the day is lower.
The other most important advantage of an online business is the ability to project itself globally. Once the website goes live, you are visible to the entire world! You can get customers to your site through such tools as SEO (Search Engine Optimization). An increase in the number of visitors to your website can translate into more customers through good customer service.
Work at home
Working at home is also a great advantage of owning an online business. You do not have to commute every day and this saves on time spent on the road to work. You also get to save on the time spent getting ready for work. It offers you a lot of freedom and convenience that you cannot get when running a brick and mortar business.
The internet business offers a lot of options for startups and does not restrict you to a particular business. You can choose to sell products such as beauty products, jewelry, books, shoes, or electronics. You can also choose to create content based websites, or do product affiliation marketing. This will depend on your passion and funds.
Flexible operational hours
An online business does not close, it is open 24 hours a day, and sometimes seven days a week, which will translate into income flow throughout the year. Actually, you do not have to be online to make a sale!
Maximization of profits
The opportunities that internet offers have led to reduced operational costs for businesses and therefore maximum profits are realized. This has led to many businesses closing their brick and mortar businesses and opting for online businesses.
Disadvantages of internet businesses:
Requires aggressive marketing
The fact that you do not have a physical location places you at a disadvantage. You must market your wares or services or no one will know of your existence. You will need to form online relationships for traffic into your website, and this will require you to learn about such things as pay per click advertising, SEO, affiliate marketing, and other methods of online promotion.
Building a website is one thing, promoting it is another. It requires an elaborate marketing plan for it to be successful and make you money.
Too many distractions
There are too many options that are available for you as an entrepreneur in the internet business and it is possible for you to get distracted. It is not advisable to keep hopping from one business to another, instead, select something that is unique and profitable, and of course something that you enjoy doing.
It is important to remember that internet business is not a get-rich–quick scheme. Many people have made a lot of money by working online, but it was purely through hard work especially during startup. They also had to be very strategic and analyzed the available options in the digital world before finally settling on what they do.
You can also choose to blend the brick and mortar business with E-commerce, to create a Brick and Click business. This way the business becomes more solid and gains a bigger market share. You are able to target both online and offline customers.