Four essential steps in preparing your digital business for scale
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Here's how to ensure you're on the optimal growth path
When you’re ready to grow your business, you must take the time to prepare your resources, supply chain and infrastructure so you can scale accordingly.
Taking the time to prepare will ensure the growth goes smoothly, to keep employees, partners and customers alike happy. While this advice is mainly intended to help support digital businesses, brick-and-mortar businesses can also benefit.
Your business can implement a number of growth strategies, from market expansion or product expansion, to diversification, and even acquisition. No matter which path you take, you will need to do the following: establish your value proposition, find your ideal customers, define your key indicators, look at existing revenue streams and see where you can add more, and pay close attention to your competition.
Bottlenecks can get in the way of your business growth, however. These can include mismanagement of resources, unfocused marketing and a lack of visibility. Fortunately, with digital platforms for doing business, you can easily scale while still having a good grasp of the needs of the business. Here are a few things you should consider when you are ready to scale.
Optimise your IT for a global audience
Achieving scale will usually involve tapping a global audience, and you will need to ensure a consistent user experience all throughout. Whether you are running your digital business on a single data centre or a cloud hosting provider, you can greatly benefit from deploying a content delivery network or CDN. Broadly speaking, CDNs are network optimisation services that caches copies of content such as images, stylesheets, scripts and other rich media across servers in different parts of the world, bringing these geographically closer to users in different countries or regions. You can visit here to learn more about what CDNs are and how they work.
Access to your website becomes significantly faster, especially since data does not have to travel far. Case in point: you might experience high latencies if your data centre is in Singapore and your customers are in New York. With a CDN, access times are reduced, particularly when your CDN has nodes closer to New York. This also reduces bandwidth consumption on your main web hosting platform, which can result in significant cost savings.
Speed is important to usability, since 47% of users expect a website to load in two seconds or less, according to Kissmetrics. About half of users will abandon a website that doesn’t load in three seconds. A one second delay in your page load times translates to a 7% reduction in conversion rates. While it doesn’t sound like much, for a business earning $10,000 a day that equates to $25,550 in lost sales every year.
Automate your marketing efforts
Marketing Automation involves solutions that automate tasks, activities and processes that can significantly improve output across multiple marketing channels. For instance, tools such as Socedo automate the process of bringing qualified leads into your sales pipeline. Socedo relies on social media, which has proven to be a viable means of engaging audiences.
In addition, using a platform like GetResponse can help you run targeted email campaigns to engage certain segments of your customers. This increases the conversion potential compared to sending a general email blast. Marketing automation also includes split-testing tools like Optimizely, which enables you make the most of your marketing budget by optimising for impact. Use it to see which copy your customers respond to, which color scheme, layout, or images work better with your audience. Run multiple split tests to test individual elements of your website, and even your offer or call to action.
Engage customers across different touch points
As your business grows, you’re more likely to lose track of customers, unless you employ a solution that engages and keeps track of customer relationships. That’s where an effective customer relationship management (CRM) platform can come in to help your sales and marketing team work in sync with one another. Tools like Insightly and Zoho CRM help keep track of customer interactions to improve customer service, sales data to help improve product offerings and marketing campaigns, and more.
Customer engagement is critical to overall business success. It costs five times more to acquire customers than it does to keep existing ones, and reducing your defection rate by 5% can increase profitability anywhere from 25% to 125%. Customers will pay more for a better customer experience. True to the Pareto efficiency economic principle, 80% of your company’s revenues come from the top 20% of your customers. Therefore, building strong relationships and keeping customers engaged should be among your primary business goals.
Enhance your business intelligence and visibility
Investing in enterprise resource planning (ERP) can help your organisation manage everything about your business with ease. From monitoring and managing all aspects of your supply chain, inventory, finance, human resources and more. Essentially, you can use ERP software to manage all the critical aspects of your business with a series of dashboards. However, for ERP to be truly useful to your business, it needs to be integrated with other systems the business is using.
If you want the potential to scale, you can go for dashboards like Cooladata, which enables your organisation to do agile behavioural analytics from a collection of different data sources. Another example of an accessible ERPs include OpenERP, an open-source ERP system for Windows and Linux. It offers solutions for sales management, accounting and finance, purchase management, recruitment, and more.
With better marketing automation, your business can spend more time and money on other aspects of your business, without worrying about the quality of leads your campaigns are bringing in. With improved infrastructure, you get a more efficient system that makes it easier for customers to use your website and access content. With resource planning, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of everything in your business so you can spot and fix problems before they negatively affect your business. And, with better customer relationship management, you’re building stronger relationships with your customers to foster brand loyalty, which will increase your profits and help build more brand awareness.