10 Skills That You Need to Run an Online Business by Yourself

Customer Service
Taking care of any customer service issues promptly is as important in an online company as it is in a retail store. Hero Images/Getty Images

If you're selling shoes at a department store in a mall, your people skills obviously are an invaluable asset — not just for making sales, but for making your customers feel so satisfied with their purchases that they'll come back to you the next time that they need another pair of wingtips or pumps.

It might seem as if that sort of charm and attentiveness doesn't matter online, when you're selling your wares to a lot of people you'll never meet face to face. But don't be fooled. Look to the example of successful online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos, which focused on customer service — including easy returns — to differentiate itself from the competition [source: Rampton].

One way to further a friendly customer experience is to fill your website with good self-service tools, such as an easy-to-navigate user interface, plenty of detailed product information and images, and a good search function so people can find what they need. But it's also important to provide people with options for contacting and interacting with you to solve problems — whether it's through Twitter or a toll-free phone number [source: Frei].