Probably you already know that in the last one to two decades many changes and innovations directly impact how you are doing business today. If you still operate the traditional business, this is the real-time to start thinking about moving it online in the digital world.
There are enormous opportunities when your business exists online, from reach to the substantial global audiences, through automation and 24 hours available for your customers. Digitalization is driving change at unprecedented rates in the business world that disrupts operations, business processes and customer experience. So, it makes sense for any company to start with innovation to establish digital operations and presence for their customers.
But, this move is not an easy task that can be done quickly. In my experience, many entrepreneurs have started and then disappointed when they see what they need to change in their current traditional processes. So, many entrepreneurs consider the move from offline to online frightening and complicated, even though it doesn’t need to be.
Here I want to cover some things you will need to do before you start with the movement from offline to online of your business operations.
1. You need to innovate your business processes and products/services
Is it possible?
This is the first question that many traditional entrepreneurs ask when we talk about the possibilities to innovate their business operations to move them from offline to online. Also, as a professor on the “innovation and creativity” subject in higher education, my students always start with the answer that “it is not possible” when I ask them to think for the entirely new product or service. The same is happening when I ask to reinvent the current products and services.
But, when we start to work systematically on many possibilities, they quickly learn that everything is possible. So, don’t start with the guard that something is not possible. This is only your brain that wants to escape from additional work.
For example, let’s look at the development of the casino industry. It is one of the traditional sectors working in the same way for years. The slot machines had started before more than a century when Sittman and Pitt in New York developed a gambling machine which is considered to be the first slot machine. Today, innovation in the industry has developed slot machines that operate 100% online in the casino industry.
So, when this industry can innovate and move its operations from offline to the online world, why you think that you can’t?
Remember that at this stage of moving from offline to online, you will need to innovate in three different areas:
- products and services,
- business models and
- your business processes.
2. Develop an eCommerce strategy
Now, when you already have the innovation of your products/services, processes, and business model it is the right time to start developing your eCommerce strategy. You will need to cover several important things:
- eCommerce technology you will use. Depending on the type of products and services you will sell online, you can choose from different existing platforms. For example, you can use Weebly to create your eCommerce website quickly. Apart from this, there’s a lot more you can do to grow your small business. One such way is to optimize Weebly for SEO to get superior results. Doing this will motivate your audience to connect with you, and also it is easy to use. Or, you can use WordPress with the WooCommerce Most of the famous website builders have eCommerce functionality built-in. You will need to research and choose one that is most appropriate for your business model.
- Blogging for your online business. As a part of your marketing strategy, today is must have the business blog. You can use these more than 100 blog post ideas for your small business to start preparing for your future launch.
- Products/Services description. Thinks about all products and services, their categories, and how you will describe them in a language that customers use to find such products and services.
Watch these 12 killer tips about eCommerce marketing strategies:
3. Build Your Website Where You Will Start Moving Some of Your Offline to Online Operations
The next step you will need to take is to start building and preparing your website that will be the home of your online operations. Don’t worry if you still don’t have clear innovation from the first step. When you start building something the ideas will also begin to flow. So, start creating your business website even it is only as a concept for moving your business from offline to online.
You simply want to create a buzz about what will happen in the future, even you still are not sure how it will look like. Start blogging about the concept and ideas, collect information from potential customers. Add several landing pages to experiment with different concepts and business models you have developed in the first step. The most important thing at this stage is to collect ideas and approve that your innovative concepts are right to be implemented.
4. Design and Re-design Your Current Business Processes and Procedures
I have seen many entrepreneurs trying to move their operations from offline to online by using their old traditional business processes. This is one of the biggest mistakes they are making. You need to remember that old and obsolete processes cannot support your online part of the business. There are many differences you will need to take into account when you are creating your new business processes. Starting from logistics to payment collection, you will really need to go into detail about each part of your operations.
I know that this requires a tremendous amount of time and effort from your side. But, it will be worth to your company in the future. So, don’t try to escape this step. Designing and re-designing your business processes is one of the most important things you will need to do when you are trying to move some of your business operations from offline to online.
5. Implementation of Everything You Have Done Until Now
When you create your new processes and have redesigned your current processes, it is time to start with the movement. Start with small steps slowly. Remember that you will always experiment with everything you are doing. Continuous learning is an essential part of this process.