Business Strategy Planning: How to Make the Move Online

Illustration of a man sitting at his office desk and working on his computer with a chart stuck on the wall

As the many arms and functions of the global economy adapt and evolve, online commerce has become a lifeline for millions of people worldwide. Today, the long-term objective for entrepreneurial neophytes and brick-and-mortar shops will be to transition to the internet, which may or may not be a daunting task.

Whether your company is considering transitioning to an online business model or your startup wants to be 100% digital after a soft offline launch, it's essential to alter your business strategy planning now. Everything from your marketing campaign to order fulfilment, your overall business model will need to be updated with digital solutions in mind. If you are behind the curve on this, your firm will fail to participate in the overhauled marketplace.

So, what steps should you take to tailor your business to the online market? We have compiled a guide of ten tips to bring your enterprise – new or old – into the evolving economy.

1. Redefine Your Business

By redefining your business, you can take a different approach to deliver goods and services, solving market conundrums and satisfying consumer needs. This is easier to do when you are just beginning the process of opening a company, but it might be a tad more difficult to accomplish when you have been operating for several years. That said, here are a few measures to mull over:

  • Modify the focus of your operations by researching market potential.
  • Reconsider the geography and ages of your target demographic.
  • Review your past corporate performance and learn from what worked and what didn't.
  • Research your industry competitors, what they are doing, and how they are adapting.
  • Think about why you started your business in the first place.

It is hard to redefine your firm after the blood, sweat and tears of putting it all together. That said, it is a worthwhile initiative when you are acclimating to what the market is telling your entrepreneurial soul.

2. Collect the Data

Thanks to the internet and big data, we have access to a treasure trove of previously untapped market information. Industry reports, government figures, internal numbers and news stories – you can exploit this free information to adjust to the digital marketplace. Since you are operating on the web, you need to rethink your metrics and the implementation of your newest online strategies. By using the facts and figures at your fingertips, you can perhaps discover a trend that other experts are unable to notice. This will ensure your commercial efforts will be successful.

3. Change the Faces

When you are adopting a digital business strategy and transitioning from the analogue days, it might be critical to change the faces of your workforce. With your new business goals, you'll need to onboard the right talent to help you achieve success. Moving forward, then, you will need to hire new and upskill existing employees so that they can execute your strategies and use their relevant expertise to advance your business plans.

4. Update Your Environment

How old is your computer equipment? If the answer is a shrug, then it is time to update your office environment. Investing in new computers, high-speed internet, cloud computing and anything else that is pertinent to a 21st century workplace will yield dividends for your pursuit to succeed in the new economy.

Moreover, it may not need to be just the technology that you can spend your resources on in this economy. You could also update your office furniture to make it more ergonomic. Or, you can redecorate the office to fit with your changing plans.

5. Gather Your SWOT Team

Every company needs to complete a SWOT analysis occasionally. This will ensure that you understand the fabric of your business and how it is operating under different types of markets. It also serves as an excellent reminder for employees who may have lost sight of your corporation's objectives.

So, what is SWOT anyway?

  • Strengths: What your business is great at and what it needs to keep doing.
  • Weaknesses: What your organisation is not doing well and what it needs to change immediately.
  • Opportunities: What is happening outside of the office, and how can your firm take advantage?
  • Threats: Are there any events occurring in the marketplace that could threaten your enterprise?

By the end, you need to shift these findings to your online venture. After one or two quarters of digital operation, it would be prudent to conduct another SWOT analysis to see how the transition is coming along and if you are adapting to the shift as best as possible.

6. Establish Short-Term Milestones

Rome wasn't built in a day. Jeff Bezos didn't become a billionaire overnight. Warren Buffett did not turn Berkshire Hathaway into an industry titan after one client. Indeed, overnight sensations are a work of fiction, and you should never buy into becoming an instant success. It takes years of work, dedication, and trial and error.

On day one of your digital business strategy shift, it would help your cause to establish a list of short-term goals and recognise these milestones as you go forward. Companies do need long-term goals, too, but for development purposes, it's critical to look towards your goals in the upcoming days, weeks and months. 

7. Alter Marketing Efforts

Marketing professionals often say that if you are not advertising online, then you are missing out.

Now that you are going to operate solely online, digital marketing is imperative. It is time to overhaul your marketing budget and transfer more resources into SEO, social media, content marketing and all sorts of tactics to garner more eyeballs on your brand.

Remember, it is still a good idea to complete offline advertising. Everything from brand apparel to erecting signage in bus shelters, there are various ways to complement your online efforts with offline investments.

8. Use Digital Tools

If there is one thing that the new economy has taught workers is that there is a long list of digital tools that can enhance productivity and foster a more collaborative atmosphere, even if you're working remotely

As more and more businesses experiment with a remote workforce, they are becoming increasingly aware of the many programmes and applications that are available to them, including:  

9. Identify Key Performance Indicators

Businesses utilise key performance indicators (KPI) to judge if what they are doing is working or not. These are specific measurements for particular parts of your business; think of it as an octopus and its tentacles. So, as an online company, what KPIs would be relevant to your operations?

  • Cost of Goods Sold: The production costs of the goods you sell to customers.
  • Sales by Region: Where are you achieving your sales goals?
  • Customer Acquisition Cost: Divide your acquisition costs by the number of new customers, which can determine if your marketing campaigns are working as intended.
  • Customer Support Tickets: Online companies will invest in digital chats and other automated customer service channels. To measure the efficacy of your internet customer service, you crunch the number of new tickets, the number of resolved tickets and resolution time.
  • Customer Churn Rate: The percentage of customers who didn't buy from you again or who ended their service in a specific period.
  • EBITDA: Your earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation. Or, in plain English, your revenues after all your expenses are tallied.
  • Innovation Spending: How much are you spending on innovation? Many businesses, especially in the tech realm, will allocate their budgets to research and development. If innovation is a strategic tactic, innovation spending can be a terrific KPI.
  • Average Annual Expenses to Serve One Customer: The average amount necessary to serve one customer. The standard formula is usually total expenses divided by total customers.

There are many more KPIs, and the longer you operate your business, the more you will come up with. However, these are the basic metrics to incorporate into your business strategy planning.

10. Adapt to Changing Conditions

In the end, succeeding as an entrepreneur requires adaptability and flexibility. If there is a monumental change occurring in the world or a major market shift is taking place, it is your job as a business owner to adapt to these conditions. 

Otherwise, you will never be able to take advantage of the many opportunities that a downturn can generate. If there is a chance to take your company to the next level during a societal change, you need to be ready.

Commerce, entertainment, communication, and work – there are many ways that the digital economy has kept people informed, the supply chain flowing and situations metastasising into deadly affairs.

Is your business ready for the global economic evolution? By adopting these recommendations, you can ensure that your entrepreneurial pursuits are successful endeavours during the booms and busts!

Have you got any other online business strategy tips? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!