This weeks blog was written by Chris Davis for the Digital Ready Program and first posted on Business Tasmania on 13 May 2013. We thought it relevant to the new Digital Directions video collection.
What do most small-to-medium businesses do when they try something new?
Generally, they fail to set clear objectives for reaching their goals. They fail to plan and as Winston Churchill said “failing to plan is planning to fail”.
As a business owner, you should start by understanding what it is you’re trying to achieve and why. It’s important to ask yourself whether everything you do moves you closer to your goals. If not, why do it? Some things we can’t avoid (like bookwork), but it’s vital to think critically about everything we do.
Your digital activity is no different. A clear objective is essential to the success of the digital strategy.
Before you decide what your digital objectives are, look at your business plan (you do have one, don’t you?). What goals have you set? Are you achieving your current objectives?
A business plan is a reminder of why you are in business and what you are trying to achieve. Without one, you’ll play hit and miss with anything you do, including your digital activity.
The classic example I hear as a digital coach is, “My business has to be on Facebook”. Why? For some businesses Facebook is a relevant and important tool but for many, it’s not. This is particularly true for anyone operating in the business-to-business space.
Here are some questions business owners need to consider when designing and building their digital strategy.
Why are you in business? What do you want to achieve? Does each digital activity relate to these objectives?
Will all or just part of your services and products be represented?
Is it costly? What resources will you invest? Don’t kid yourself that digital activity is free. The cost is your time.
Are you trying to:
- keep in touch with customers (or others)
- all of the above.
What can you learn from your competitors?
- How do they operate and engage in the digital world?
- What do they do well?
- What don’t they do well? There might be opportunity for you.
What type of information do you want to provide about your business and service offerings?
Are you after international, national, regional or local customers, or a combination of all?
What is the most critical market segment to attract through your digital strategy?
When you have answered the above (and other questions like these), look back at your business plan. Do the answers help you achieve your business goals?
If the answer is yes, then you are on the way to having a digital strategy.
Chris Davies is the managing director and senior advisor for Business Advice Tasmania. He was a digital coach for the 2013 Digital Ready program.