From online shopping and telehealth services to remote working and virtual workout sessions, digital offerings are rapidly growing to meet market demands. Consumers rely on digital platforms for various daily activities, and there’s no better time than now to start a digital business.
But with the vast opportunities also comes intense competition. You must set up your business so it’ll not only take off but also grow sustainably for long-term success. Here’s how:
1. Strat With a Comprehensive Business Plan
You’d likely be tempted by “bright shiny objects” when you run a digital business. But these distractions will not only cost you time and money but also derail you from achieving your long-term goals. A well-written business plan can help you stay focused on your objectives so you can invest your time and resources in what matters.
Your business plan should include your vision, mission, values, goals, financial plan, operational strategy, target customers, unique selling proposition, and competitive landscape analysis. Also, consider what digital initiatives and technologies you’d use to achieve your goals and differentiate your brand from competitors.
2. Design a Digital Strategy Based on the Business Plan
A strategy details how you plan to reach the long-term goals stated in the business plan. The document should include high-level action items such as creating a compelling brand story that resonates with your target audience, developing buyer personas to guide your marketing efforts, and mapping the customer journey to inform the choice of marketing channels.
Your digital strategy should outline how you’d establish an online presence, how you’d conduct eCommerce activities, whether you’d offer digital products or services, and how you’d leverage digital workflows and communication technologies to drive cost-efficiency.
3. Build Your Digital Foundation For Your Strategy
Next, you have to identify the right IT infrastructure and technologies to execute your strategy and achieve your goals. For most digital businesses, cloud-based applications provide scalable, flexible, and secure solutions to support long-term growth cost-effectively.
Some essential tools for a digital business include a company website, social media management application, eCommerce platform, mobile app, CRM system, and marketing automation software. Also, stay current on emerging technologies, such as the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and augmented or virtual reality.
4. Hire Talents with the Right Digital Skill Sets
Digital skill sets in DevOps, cloud computing, business process automation, data management and analytics, cybersecurity, and digital customer experience are in high demand. Don’t skimp on recruitment and employee retention — hiring high-quality team members with the right background and expertise is key to building a thriving digital business.
But finding the right talent is just the beginning. You must have a comprehensive employee onboarding process to empower employees to do their jobs effectively and make the right decisions for your company. Proper onboarding and training can also boost employee satisfaction, which is key to retaining top talents in any digital business.
5. Protect Your Business With the Right Insurance Coverage
No matter how big or small your team is, don’t forget to protect your business and employees with the right workers’ compensation insurance policy, even if you have a remote team or don’t sell physical goods. This insurance covers medical costs and lost wages, as well as rehabilitation or physical therapy. Not to mention, it’s mandatory in many states.
Employees in the technology sector are prone to injuries due to repetitive physical motions such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Workers’ compensation insurance can cover the required rehabilitation or therapy and pay a portion of the wages as the employee recovers, so your business doesn’t have to shoulder the financial responsibilities.
6. Identify the Right Partners and Vendors
Running a digital business involves many moving parts and a wide range of expertise. Instead of building all the capabilities in-house, you can partner with other companies to expand your offerings, lower product development costs, and reduce time-to-market.
Look for vendors with a robust digital consulting component in their service packages to ensure that the products or services you purchase can support your digital strategy and help you achieve your goals. If you have the financial resources, you can consider expanding your digital capabilities through mergers & acquisitions (M&A).
7. Track the Right KPIs for Ongoing Improvements
“What gets measured gets done.” The good news is that it’s now easy to collect data and track progress on digital channels. The bad news is that because it’s so easy to collect data, many businesses are sucked into chasing vanity metrics and barking up the wrong trees — spending resources on improving metrics that don’t contribute to their goals.
To ensure that you’re tracking numbers that matter, take the time to identify the right key performance metrics (KPIs) that align with your short- and long-term business goals. Then, create a system to collect, process, and analyze the data to help you generate insights to inform accurate data-driven decision-making.
8. Don’t Forget Data Security and Compliance
You’ll likely be collecting a lot of personal data from prospects and customers digitally, whether you’re generating leads or processing online payments. All your platforms, systems, and processes must comply with various data security laws, such as GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS.
Compliance is particularly crucial if you’re in a highly regulated sector, such as healthcare and finance. Not only does your business need to adhere to all the rules, but you also need to work with vendors that are compliant with industry regulations.
You have to manage many moving parts when you build and manage a digital business. From writing a business plan and designing your strategy to hiring the right talents and working with the right partners — nothing can be left to chance. It’s worth the effort to build a solid foundation by following these tips so you can set your company up for long-term success.
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