Many businesses struggle to translate what they do to a true online operation. You can’t just “copy-paste” and there’s your business running online.
You need to rethink, reorganize and modify your business model to suit how customers are going to interact with you in the online world.
In this series we will run through how to evaluate your existing business with an eye to transitioning it online.
When looking at your existing business you need to ask, what does it have that has value online?
Some starting points include
Does it have a big client base?
If you have a solid client base then you may not want to mess with this first up.
What you may want to do instead is improve the experience and ensure this client base stays, ensure this client base grows.
Does it have unique products?
If there is then technology is best utilized in the driving of sales and the long term support this product.
There are often opportunities to build an ongoing service based revenue or capturing subscription of existing customers to increase the value of the overall company that is wrapped around the product.
Does it have a particular brand name that’s well known?
This is a key value add, Google and Bing are both search engines, and their results are as good as each other.
Most people use Google because the brand name, familiarity and image associated. When your reviewing how you adapt the brand to an online experience you need to select the technology carefully,
Many Newspapers all rushed to stick their articles on the front page of their website making them feel cluttered and just not the same as their offline product.
Specific intellectual property around something?
It doesn’t have to be a patent, it can be the business processes you have, it can be the way you work with your clients, teams or suppliers, it can be the knowledge about pricing, distribution techniques anything that works well and gives you an edge.
Once you have identified the separate assets you have, you can then start looking at how they can be utilized online.
Solid processes for knocking out costs in production?
When it comes to delivery and quality management, online systems allow you to manage and improve how you operate and it allows you to distribute and rethink who and where your team needs to be.
Do you staff have a specific skillset?
This is very important, many companies see cost cutting as simply “firing excess people”. This is typically a short term gain that long term results in long term weaken capability and massive loss of knowledge and contacts.
A much better medium and long term strategy is to identify all the skills and contacts you people have that make your organisation successful and then review how these can be enhanced with the right systems.
Do you have connections and contracts in place?
This can be a key differentiator online, if you have the contract for supply. Blockbuster Video stores had contracts in place with all the major studios, they had a huge client base.
They could have transitioned online but failed to, imagine if they had used their contracts early.
You need to go through the process of rethinking your business and restarting up your business to be the online version of yourself — taking what you have, leaving the bits that don’t work online, and taking the bits that can scale, defining the core of what you do in the online world.
The next step is then to plan the transition strategy.