An important part of growth is sustainability. If your business volume seems to hit a plateau or recurring limit, the only direction you’re going is back down again. Companies that aren’t making an impact quickly become marginalized. Business strategy has to include developing a sound operational plan that will both maximize your efforts and keep you relevant. Here are five keys to achieving longevity.
1. Analyze sales
In the highly competitive online environment, building a successful sales machine takes more than a few good ideas and an occasional promotion. If you don’t know where your sales are coming from, you’re already lost. You have to know specifically how the majority of your leads are generated and what works in converting them to buyers. Sales is a numbers game, and you have to constantly understand what motivates you customers.
It’s very unlikely that the same product will still be in high demand five or 10 years from now. Your competition will always be introducing new features and designs. Know what people want and innovate to accommodate these needs. For example, many online customers today expect personalized services, as seen in the infographic, below. Plan to include the hot products and must-have services.
3. Marketing your brand
Test every element you introduce to your marketing campaigns. Changing even a single color, image, or price point should involve user feedback on perceptions of your brand. For instance, shifting from a smiling model to a cartoon mascot could be disastrous. Charging a little more could convey higher quality. Be sure each change you make not only draws a better response, but fits your brand image. Brand recognition is important to longevity.
4. Growth rate
Every business expense is an investment that must be weighed carefully. Considering inflation and increased operating costs as your business expands, you should define and preserve a sustainable growth rate as your lifeline into the future. You must always have cash reserves to provide for upgrades, opportunities, risk management, and more.
5. Technical scalability
As an online business, you usually start with a web hosting account. You may have some control over your site design and software, but the hardware is your host’s. Growing internet companies are bound to find themselves constrained by slow page loads, bandwidth, and even downtimes that annoy customers. Be certain you have a reliable host that will allow you easy upgrades that scale to your business needs.
Like any other business, one of the keys to longevity online is streamlining your operations for efficiency. Your own time is something you can’t afford to waste.
Author: Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband. Dixie recommends looking into an online MBA program if you’re serious about a lasting business career.