Navigating the world of business online – Part 2

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Opening your business up to a larger audience online can reap rewards, but may come with greater risk.  The online world remains open for business and some small businesses may find this is their only way to function during the global pandemic.

There are plenty of things to consider when operating a business online.

Know where you stand 

An important consideration will be how you will interact with your customers.  This should be given careful thought – it extends a good deal further than adding a “buy it now” button below your product or service.

Examples of issues to consider are:

  • Cancellation policy – this is particularly important where you are selling a service.  Perhaps your customers pay a membership fee – how much notice will they need to give to cancel the service, and will you be offering a refund?
  • Cooling off period – will you offer any more than the statutory 14 day cooling off period for a customer to change their mind? If any of your content is downloadable, will you be asking customers to forfeit that right at the point they download the content?
  • Payments – will these be made in full at the time of purchase or over a period of time?
  • Privacy policies – what sort of personal data will you be collecting from your customers and what will you be intending to use it for? If you are collecting email addresses to send marketing or promotional content to, do your customers have the ability to opt out of receiving these?
  • Termination – what scenarios may allow you to terminate the contract? If a customer does not pay on time, are they aware that the service or product may not be delivered to them?

The list above is by no means exhaustive.  Each online business will have its own particular set of issues to address.

Clear communication

The important point to note is that a well thought out Terms of Use for an online business will cover all the foreseeable issues that might arise during the course of that business.  If things go wrong (for either party), the Terms of Use will provide a steady foundation from which to build a resolution.

We are here to help

If you are thinking of moving your business online or you are online but would like to double down on any of the issues referred to above, please feel free to pick up the phone. We are here to help.

Author; Griffith Smith LLP