What CAN Your Business Do Online?
1. You Need to Be Able to Plan EffectivelyWhether your business is online or off, knowing what can be done online allows you to plan and brainstorm across the full spectrum of opportunity.Â If you focus only on either online or offline approaches for managing and marketing your business, you are missing a huge piece of the puzzle that can lead to success. Bottom-line: success in business is often achieved by making the most of the methods and tools available to market and manage your products and services.Â If you do not learn what the web offers, and how to make the best use of it all, you are crippling your chances of reaching your goals.
2. OwnershipMost businesses retain or hire an accountant to manage their finances, a lawyer to handle legal matters and other experts when needed.Â This is a perfectly good approach, and one that works well for your online efforts as well. For example, you can retain someone to build your website or to manage your social media marketing campaigns. However, as a business owner, you still own all of these parts of your business. Itâs your responsibility to keep tabs on the activities of each person you retain. You need to know the questions to ask and the warning signs for which to look. Bottom-line: If you do not have the basic knowledge of what is being done on your behalf, you run some big risks.
- At one end, you may spend a lot of time getting results that donât connect to your bottom line (as we saw happen to Company A in the post, "The 'What Your Business SHOULD Be Doing Online' Formula".
- At the other end, you could be robbed blind and wind-up losing everything for which you worked so hard.
One important clarification:Â You do need to learn about what can be done online, but you do not need to become an expert in any of it.You have a business to run and that keeps you busy enough already. The last thing you need to do is add more to your plate.Â As mentioned above, use your knowledge of whatâs online to come up with ideas and plans and then retain or hire someone to implement them on your behalf.Â This frees you up to spend time finding new customers and delighting the ones you already have.Â Donât get me wrong â you can do any and all of the tasks to run your business, including managing and marketing online. Just be sure youâre spending your time wisely.
How To Learn What You CAN Do OnlineLearning about, and staying on top of, what you can do online, and how to do it effectively, does take some time and effort, but the payoff is expanded opportunity and less business risk â both worthwhile results. Below are some of the top resources I use to stay abreast of online opportunities, approaches, tools and ideas:
- Alltop â the latest posts gathered for you from blogs across the web. This link takes you to their âSmall Businessâ topic, but you can find many more topics by using their âSearchâ box in the top right of their site.
- OPEN Forum
- pbSmart Essentials (disclosure: I am a contributor to this site)
- MakeUseOf â this link leads to their âCool Web Appsâ which lists daily posts that tell you about great online tools, many of which are good for businesses.
- Â E-Business Now online workshops and guide from SCORE, a partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)