You’ve spent time and money to build your digital business. Now, maintain your digital business to enjoy all the benefits of your hard work.
Maybe you spent weeks or months getting your digital business off the ground. It took years before your business started to meet your expectations. So, now you breathe a sigh of relief and get back to your “real” life, currently in progress.
You need to spend as much time working to maintain your digital business as you did building it in the first place if you want to succeed in the long run.
Keeping your business in good working order isn’t just something you do once then just coast along the same path forever. Treat your business as if it were a living, breathing organism that requires constant attention, upkeep, and feeding. Sometimes your business needs trimming, other times watering. Truly looking after your business makes a huge difference in whether your business survives or fails in the long run.
The exact type of maintenance your business requires depends on the type of business you envision in the future, market conditions, like the economy and customers, as well as other external factors.
Maintain your digital business
Before delving into how you work to maintain your digital business, let’s take a step back to discuss some issues that impact your digital business.
Goals and objectives
First, and foremost, you must set realistic, specific goals and objectives. We normally talk about SMART goals that, like any good athlete training for an event, push you to achieve as much as possible without being so challenging that you give up in frustration before reaching your potential.
Every year, take the time and make the effort necessary to craft a marketing plan to guide the business, coordinate your efforts across employees and functional areas, and ensure you have sufficient resources to allow you to achieve your goals. Planning requires a thorough environmental scan, as well as monitoring key metrics of your performance. As part of your planning, develop detailed plans for the coming year, as well as updating your long-term plans that form the overarching direction for your business and inform yearly plans to ensure you reach your long-term goals.
Even a digital business involves many physical components associated with generating leads, nurturing leads to conversion, delivering products, and handling customers to ensure their satisfaction and convert them into loyal customers who buy from your year after year.
Even businesses that sell through 3rd party online retailers, like Amazon and eBay, require careful attention to the tools of the trade used to support their goals. You might also use a distributed network where employees are physically located all over the world or operate one or more physical locations to gain the advantages possible when employees work collaboratively in the same location. That means you have office furniture and business technology, including computers, printers, servers, and the like, and facilities to keep employees happy, such as food and drink facilities that you must keep in good working order. Similarly, you need to get products to customers, even if that means delivering in bulk to Amazon and letting them take care of delivering products to customers, called last-mile logistics.
That’s a lot of “stuff” you must keep in good working order, update over time to the latest technology, and coordinate with 3rd parties like logistics firms or operate your own fleet of trucks.
Maintain your physical assets
Ensure regular maintenance happens on the recommended schedule. Just as delaying an oil change in your car reduces the useful life of your vehicle and, potentially, strands you without transportation; causing all kinds of inefficiencies as you struggle to get where you need to go.
It might the wheels on your trucks, the tools you use, your devices, or the cables that connect devices. All these physical products require regular maintenance to perform at peak levels. To ensure regular maintenance and extend the lifetime of your business equipment, many companies invest in software that captures your maintenance and automatically reminds you when you should perform routine maintenance.
Other things like load cell calibration, ensure your equipment measures accurately, which helps avoid overloading and damaging your transportation equipment or inefficiencies resulting from inaccurate measurement. For instance, if you weigh a package you’re sending to a customer incorrectly, you may find your package delayed by the logistics firm or may overcharge customers for shipping, causing dissatisfaction.
Moreover, e-commerce firms use weights to ensure the package contains all ordered items and no extra items. When the scale is inaccurate, such checks fail.
You can handle many jobs yourself. Reloading ink in basic printers, resetting modems, and updating your security and software, and upgrading devices like phones and computers are easy with a little knowledge and time. They’re also routine elements needed to maintain your digital business.
Other maintenance tasks require a professional. For instance, updating your website means offering the most up-to-date information and products to visitors, as well as adapting to the ever-changing rules of SEO and mobile. Similarly, consumer needs and demands for speed, design, and user experience change and you must adapt your website to these changes. That means hiring a professional either on a full-time basis, if you require extensive updates over time, or hiring a contractor to take care of website maintenance.
Maybe you’ll find everything you need from a platform such as Fiverr or, if your needs are more frequent and detailed, you might hire a local consultant to handle periodic website updates. The same is true for other elements needed to maintain your digital business, such as updating security.
Ever hear the old saying that, “cleanliness is next to godliness, well, keeping employees happy and safe is easier when you have a clean workspace. Consider booking a professional deep clean for your business location every few months. Even if the office is a garage or another location where customers never see the operation, a clean operation makes everyone feel better, makes them work easier, and keeps the workspace safe, especially in these dangerous times.
When possible modernize the devices and tools that you use. Providing your staff the best and most modern equipment makes their job easier and improves efficiency. New devices and equipment also increase your ability to perform tasks as many upgrades offer additional features. Not only that but new devices make your business greener and more cost-effective, too.
Owning a business and running it effectively is more than starting it and enjoying the profits. A business is something to be proud of and taken care of. Maintaining high standards, training, equipment, and the environment is the best thing you can do for your business’s long-term success. A well-oiled machine always runs better.
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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.