Owners of small businesses know that in order to stay in business and be successful, they continually have to ask themselves what they can do better. This is also the case when it comes to their online presence - but few do so.
This mindset of continuous improvement is important in a world where competition is rife and many consumers are only interested in lower prices.
The ability of looking objectively and critically at one’s business is a skill that is difficult for many of us to master. And yet, it is one of the biggest success factors in running and growing a profitable business.
The online world presents a whole new world of opportunity – but also additional issues. The competition is no longer just businesses around the corner from yours, but could easily be a business on the other side of the world. This presents some very real challenges for the online entrepreneur.
The best way to take control of your online presence and make sure that you stay top-of-mind with your clients and prospects, is to take it seriously. Do not leave your online presence to chance or assume that your clients’ and prospects’ behaviour is just like your own. I recently met a business owner who personally loathes social media. He believes it is a waste of time and only for kids and bored housewives. His belief is that because he personally doesn’t like social media, none of his customers and prospects like it either, and therefore it is a waste of time for his business. He is basing this opinion on his own subjective belief – not on facts, statistics and research. He might very well be losing out to a competitor that has embraced social media. But he wouldn’t know, because he has already pre-judged social media and therefore will not even do the research.
The challenge for each of us is to identify the opportunities that the online world presents and objectively establish how these could work for us. This involves a couple of things:
Firstly, you need to view the internet, your website and social media presence in a serious light. Many business people view this as just a nice-to-have, but not really a serious part of their business. This is a mistake, and if you want to get ahead you need to invest the time, energy and focus on your online presence.
Secondly, you need to get involved yourself. There are many companies that will offer you various services in the online world, like Search Engine Optimisation, Pay Per Click Advertising, Management of Social Media Profiles, Affiliate Programmes etc. But they do not know your business like you do, and they do not care about your business like you do. These companies can indeed offer you some very valuable services, but you need to be in charge and ensure that it all works to a larger plan – YOUR plan!
Thirdly, set the necessary time aside. Spend a bit of time each week to analyse your online results and what you can do better or differently to connect with your clients and prospects. Remember, that your online presence is merely an extension of your offline business. Both aspects should work together and leverage off each other. There might be some amazing opportunities to use each of them to feed the other.
It can be very challenging to get to grips with everything that is happening on the internet, because there is so much going on and so many new things being introduced all the time. This is true, but the key to mastering your online presence is to remember that your online success is not about the technology but about the business value you add to your customers and prospects. The internet is merely a tool that enables you to expose your value to more people. Once you have taken ownership of this fact, then partner with an online consultant that can assist you in presenting your real value to the global online world.
If you are not sure how this applies to your unique circumstances or how to get started, please contact us and we will be happy to share some further thoughts with you.
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