The cost of doing business today. Often I get asked what does it take to be successful in today’s business landscape.  Either for people just starting out or looking at expanding.  My answer is relatively always the same.  The cost of doing business today is that business is based mostly online although it is important to speak to your customer’s face to face.

Some of the real costs are image and brand. You need a website.  I have seen many many businesses running successfully on social media yet their page can be deleted or something goes wrong on social media and they can lose their business overnight.  I can’t stress how important it is to have a website.  And not just any website. You need a website that is going to speak to your customer.  You need to find out what your customers are doing on your site whether designing it from scratch or redesigning it.  Focus on what people want to do there.

By now you should have identified who your customer is, their demographics, the type of content, where they are shopping. So at this point in either designing a new site or redesign you need to look at what your customers are wanting to achieve from it.  Don’t just think of design and features but what actions do your visitors want to do.  Is there key information or webinars or ebooks. For example, they may want them to sign up to a newsletter or start following you on social media or YouTube or other areas. You need to look at what your customers are wanting to receive.

Another key thing with your websites is not to spam people with selling points all the time.  It is about actually having useful quality information which you are able to give back and educate your customers.  Also, there is nothing worse than having a website that hasn’t been updated in months or years.  Remember your customers now are looking at you and going how often are you updating your website.  Are you a niche in the market? And you can do this in a variety of ways. You can look at being an expert in the market by using LinkedIn or Facebook groups, regularly publishing articles on your website and recording videos.

And yes I know and understand this all takes a large amount of time. How can you possibly create all this content and run your business all at the same time? Well, this comes back to what we were looking at previously.  You need to plan.  You need to look at your most valuable priorities. You need to set up and look at the resources you need.  If you don’t have the time yourself you are going to need to pay someone to help you with it.  It could be someone local or someone overseas. Outsourcing has become extremely easy as long as you sit down and write this down.  Hopefully, you put some of this together in your SWOT analysis.  And you have put this together in your 3 month and 12 month plans.

Also, plan with patience. Not everything happens over night.  If you are just starting it is quite normal in business for it to take a small amount of time for people to start to get to know who you are.  If you have identified your niche and you know where your customers are you can certainly speed that process up.

Other key things you need in business is a good quality image.  A good logo and a good set of business card.  Now often I see people that have printed business cards out on their home printer. There is nothing worse.  The cost of business cards now are so cheap and the cost of creating good websites is so cheap.  You can do this yourself for free now or there are very good web developers around that are doing low-cost work and producing high quality.

The key here is to look at who your customers are, understand your customers and also understand what they want from your website. And also remember the key here is that your website isn’t static. It is going to be continually growing. Also, all roads lead back to your website.  So if you’re active on social media, whether it is Facebook or LinkedIn or any of the other networks make sure all your links are coming back to and you are driving traffic back to your website and you have them signing up on to your newsletter so you can keep in contact regularly.

So the takeaway for today is I want you to have a look at your website if you have one.  If you don’t have one start writing down a plan of who are your customers and what type of information do they want and then start putting a plan together in your most valuable priorities in the next 12 weeks and actually start to look at how are you going to start writing that content and how are you going to start implementing that as that is going to help you in your business by focusing on getting new customers as well as getting customers to repeat buy from you.