Moving A Offline Business Online Through The Means Of Technology


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As startup founders, unpredictability can be exciting as well as terrifying

Does your offline business have the potential to go online with the same idea, same resources, same goals? If not, what needs to change?

If your offline product cannot fulfil your online objectives, you need to think of a product that can

“The technology you use impresses no one. The experience you create with it is everything.” – Sean Gerety

I think it’s fair to begin with the assumption that the future is unpredictable, if the last nine months are to be believed. I speak for many like myself when I say that we didn’t know what hit us, we didn’t know how it was going to impact us but all we had was a choice, to adapt, accept and evolve.

As startup founders, unpredictability can be exciting as well as terrifying. Historically, events like these have given birth to so many ideas, but that’s in hindsight. In the eye of the storm, it’s more of a reality check. I guess this pandemic was many such things for small businesses like ours.

And I guess like the famous saying goes, ‘What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger’ and I’d like to believe that these last few months, truly have changed perspectives, priorities, goals and ways of working.

Your best friend in this situation? Technology. I rely on my 4 P’s to guide me through various facets of decision making:

Potential

This might be a hard question to ask yourself but just as important. Does your offline business have the potential to go online with the same idea, same resources, same goals? If not, what needs to change? More often than not when we’re hit with a roadblock, we move into a flight or fight mode when in reality we should be in a strategizing mode.

Ask yourself if your business idea can sustain in an online model with minor changes or not and you have your first step cut out for you.

Product

The second biggest step is your product. If your offline product cannot fulfil your online objectives, you need to think of a product that can.

  • Can your service be done virtually?
  • Can you sell the same product via online channels?
  • Can you convince your customers of your promise through online channels?

If your product doesn’t answer your business goals, it’s time to tweak it. The good thing about the online world is that it not just gives you the opportunity to reach out to a wider audience but also gives you several more mediums to talk to them on.

The solution is one: Recognise, revise, reflect

People

In my opinion, this is one of the strongest assets a business can have. The best thing about knowing what your business needs is you can now move on to building the team to achieve this.

Answer these few questions for yourself and your business:

  • Do you have the team you need to achieve your new goals?
  • Can your existing team be upskilled to adapt to your new goals?
  • What are the tools they need to equip them to achieve their targets?

Depending on your answers to these questions, make those hard decisions. And as per your customer, employee and business requirement, upskill your workspace.

Profit

The holy grail of any business. What startup founders often miss is to understand that for a business to make profit, all the factors like people, goals, product, etc, have to be aligned and most important of all, your product has to be in the right place at the right time.

Answer these few questions to get this:

  • What problem does your product/service solve?
  • Is there a market/demand for your particular product?
  • Who is your target customer? Where do they shop/consume content/browse?
  • Why are people buying your product? What makes them keep buying it?
  • How often are they using it?
  • What can you change in your methods to keep getting better at selling your product?

Once you know the answers to the questions above, zoom out and focus on how to keep your employees motivated to achieve them.

Lastly, no business is perfect or magical. Things will change and you will have to, too. Keep checking with your employees if their tools are helping them achieve their goals, keep checking with your employees if they’re able to be productive or require a day off, keep checking with yourself if your business goals are still aligned, and keep evolving if any of these answers are a ‘no’

Transition is never easy but the tech gods today have given us so many tools that it is not half as bad! Ensure that every team member, tool, rule or goal you set for the business works for you and for your larger business goals. And if it doesn’t, be ready to change!





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