Over the last few years we’ve got used to the idea of biz opps being EITHER wholly online OR wholly offline. By which I mean customers can purchase either through a website or in person, by walking into a physical store… but not always both.

But today the idea of running either an online business OR an offline one is becoming very outdated. In fact, businesses which are either just dot.com or just on the high street have a pretty high failure rate. Right now those businesses who manage to blend the online and the offline effectively tend to be doing much better than those who don’t.

So, if you’re starting a new venture you’ll do much better by making sure you cover both the online and offline facets of whatever business it is you’re running.

Here’s why:

* People like the convenience of buying online, but they also like being able to inspect the goods ‘hands on’ too when they want to.

* People like the cost savings that can be possible when buying online, but are also attracted by personal service, individual advice and expertise.

* People tend to think offline-only businesses are old fashioned and not price competitive (even if that’s not the case).

* It’s much easier to engage with your customer offline than online. You can get valuable feedback and negotiate more easily…. both very difficult to do online.

* Being online and offline gives you the best of both worlds and gives you an advantage over your competitors who don’t use both channels.

* When buying offline, customers can get their purchase immediately… no waiting for deliveries (which normally arrive when you aren’t in!).

* The risk of falling victim to online fraud deters some buyers from buying or revealing their personal details online.

Here are some simple ways you can make your biz opp more successful… by combining both the online and the offline worlds:

* If your business is operated mainly online always make a phone number available, so customers can speak to a real person if they want to.

* If your business is operated mainly online provide an address where customers can pick up their orders if they want to. It will reassure those who order online that you’re a real business – even if they never actually call in. (You can always state ‘visitors by appointment only’ if you wish.)

* If doing business on eBay it can make all the difference to your business if you also offer these offline methods of contact to your customers.

* If your business is a mainly online one, provide a facility where would-be customers can order samples if they want to. (Assuming your product is suitable for this of course.)

* If your business is mainly operated offline always have some kind of Internet presence too. Even if just a simple website, Google Places entry or entries on review sites. Most likely would-be customers will search for you online… even if they intend to buy offline.

* Even if your business is predominantly online, look at local methods of advertising/marketing which you could exploit. For example, local newspaper ads, leafleting, maybe even local radio/TV ads or a pop up shop at local events. These could bring you valuable extra sales from your local area that other similar Internet businesses won’t benefit from.

In the future, it’s quite likely there’ll be no such thing as either an ‘Internet business’ or a ‘high street’ type business. The businesses that survive and prosper will, to some extent, operate in BOTH areas.