Developing A Digital Business Strategy (Guide)

There are no limits on who can become a great online entrepreneur. You don't necessarily need a college degree, a bunch of money in the bank or even business experience to start something that could become the next major success. The most important thing to remember if you are considering starting a digital business is this: It's not a race.

The old saying "Rome was not built in a day" applies here. Just because you open a business doesn't mean that you're going to immediately start making money. People who rush get penalized in the marketplace much more severely than people who take their time. It's far better to methodically, diligently research your idea. 

Is anyone else doing it? What's the competition like? Do consumers and businesses have viable substitutes if they don't choose your product? Does your product really solve a pesky problem? Is the demand going to be great enough in the future, not just for a year or two? In-depth research will also guide when writing your business plan. Why write a plan even if you are the only person who works in the business?

Because it forces you to answer critical questions that you must not ignore if you want to have a strong chance of success. It doesn't have to be long. Make it a single page if you don't have the patience to do more. But it should answer these questions:

What is the purpose of the business?
Who are my customers?
What problem does my product/service solve?
Who is my competition and why is my product/service's advantage?
How will I price, position, market and support my product?

What are my financial projections for the business for the next 3-5 years? etc. Since today’s economy is a globalized marketplace, it’s important to understand the international factors that influence your business.

First thing you have to do is change your mindset. You have to start viewing your skills and experiences as money making resources. You have to stop underestimating your ability to help someone with what you can provide — whether that’s information, a service or a physical product. When you’re first getting started making money on your own, the best way to get started quickly is to understand the different ways you can make money, and which one will work best for you.

It just depends on what type of business you’re most comfortable with, and what type of work you want to do. Is it providing a service to someone or selling a product. For a service based business, there’s nothing more important to than the quality of the people that you bring on board. Everything worth doing is done on a foundation of integrity and honor.” - Ross Perot, Founder of EDS.

Take good notes, and write down everything that comes to mind because it will prove useful as you write your business plan.


If you want to increase your sales, try to do it yourself before you hire someone. Yes in the long run you will hire employees if you want to grow your business, but if you don’t know what problems these employees will run into, you will have a tough time managing them. There are a lot more costs to an employee other than their salary.

As your digital business grows, office space, insurance, computers, and other expenses add up. The biggest of those expenses are probably management expenses to manage your employees. If you still you to keep your business 100% digital you will have to leverage virtual employees and cloud computing technologies. 

When choosing virtual employees, consider using efficiency tracking solutions like Rescue Time to see how your employees spend their time. We will talk about the benefits of cloud computing to enterprises very soon. As your digital business grows, making all the decisions in your company by yourself means you are more likely to make mistakes.

The cool part about having a good business partner is that they can bring something to the table that you don’t have it helps your business to get twice as Much Manpower. By working with a business partner, you can do twice as much work if he/she is equally effective. A lot of work goes into building a business.

You need to do marketing research, networking, research and development, sales pitches, and meet with potential lenders or investors. All of this can overwhelm a business owner. In the early stages of a new venture, you may not have the resources to hire employees to assist you.

Thus, you may need a partner you can trust to share the burdens of starting a new business. A business partner may bring an entirely new skill set to the table. One business partner may have a background in research, while the other excels at sales and networking. Taking advantage of utilizing the differing skill sets can help the business succeed. 

In addition, working with a business partner allows you to divide up tasks according to strengths, conserving time and eliminating duplication of efforts. Business owners need an outside perspective to avoid tunnel vision. You might think that you have the best idea or solution to a problem, and readily invest capital into your business plans. 

Successful entrepreneurs have faith in their ideas, but may need someone else to put things in perspective. The decision-making process becomes easier and more realistic when two or more people objectively evaluate ideas and share their concerns and feedback. Business partners talk to each other about their ideas. 

Many entrepreneurs have trouble maintaining objectivity when initiating a new business idea. A business partner helps you realistically evaluate new ideas and business plans for potential flaws. Your business partner can also build off your ideas, offering more input to refine your plan, so you have a better chance of succeeding.

It is never an easy thing to find a great business partner, so don’t rush it. Make sure you get to know the person before you go into business with them. You should also expect to get into arguments and heated discussions, so you better be prepared to deal with him or her. To run a successful business, you need to learn about your customers, your competitors and your industry.

It takes time to let people know who you are, so stay focused on achieving your short-term goals and give the rest time to come together on its own. Becoming a successful online entrepreneur requires thorough planning, creativity and hard work. It’s your passion that will keep you going. If you don’t have a passion for what you’re doing, you’ll never succeed. 

There will be days/months/years when you don’t make any money, you have no customer but your passion will drive you to keep pushing forward. It’s this passion that will help you to become the Entrepreneur that you’re meant to be. At the end of the day you'll have greater job security. 

That might sound counter-intuitive, but business owners typically have multiple clients, which lessens the pain if you lose one of them. Employees, on the other hand, have only one "client," their employer. Be creative and see opportunities everywhere. Find out new ways to solve problems. Entrepreneurs must be able to think creatively.

If you really have landed on a great idea that satisfies a market need for a substantial number of customers, you have the potential to really fill a niche and establish a business quickly and effectively. A brilliant idea is also contagious - something exciting and original will interest other people, so you're more likely to draw in customers.

Be aware that lots of people believe they have fantastic business ideas, only to realize there's no real market for their business, or the product of their imaginings is too difficult or expensive to actually manufacture. You need to do incredibly thorough market research (read more in our guides on market research) if all you have is an idea at this point. 

Every product or service has to fill a market gap and have ideally at least five clear USPs. Make sure yours does. People always wonder if this is a good time to start their business idea. The fact is, there's really never a bad time to launch a business. It's obvious why it's smart to launch in strong economic times. People have money and are looking for ways to spend it. 

But launching in tough or uncertain economic times can be just as smart. If you do your homework, presumably there's a need for the business you're starting. Because many people are reluctant to launch in tough times, your new business has a better chance of getting noticed which gives you a great sense of accomplishment and also life purpose.

When you absolutely love what the business you want to start does, you're going to work far harder - which you'll need to if you want to make it a success. Your enthusiasm will also be very appealing to investors and customers. You're likely to understand your target customer much better if you know your field well, so your marketing efforts have a better chance at success. 

You also need to make sure you have a deep understanding of your subject, not just a superficial interest, to make your efforts worthwhile. You still need to do extensive market research, particularly into the size of your target market and whether other people like you would want your business' service of product offering.

If you're starting your own business because you want a new challenge, you won't be disappointed. It tests a huge variety of skills and you'll learn loads along the way. You'll also meet plenty of like-minded people and get to know your market really well.

Always know that you can do something better. Entrepreneurs are extremely competitive and you can differentiate yourself and stay competitive by the uniqueness you add to your service/product.


Let's look at a number of tried and true ways to claim a unique point of difference.

Product - Can you offer a digital product that is so unique or even trendy that your business is associated with that offering? Or, can you extend a digital product and offer a valuable service to make the product more useful to the customer.

Service - Same goes for a service. Many times this can be the packaging of a service as a product. Consulting is often delivered on an hourly basis. Packaging a consulting engagement based on an outcome, with defined deliverables and fixed package price is a very effective way to differentiate a service offering. Don't forget to give the service a powerful name!

Quality Of Process - Here is where many businesses miss the mark. They offer a great product or service, do it in a customer-focused way, but make the process of doing business with them a burden. Consider the policies and procedures in place at your bakery. Are they making it harder or easier for your customers to do business with you?

For example: What is your refund policy? Satisfaction guarantee? How do you manage long lines? Do you take payments on even small purchases?

Market Niche - Carve out an industry or two and become the most dominant player serving that industry. A really nice bonus to this approach is you can usually raise your prices dramatically when you specialize in this manner.

Many times you can create your category niche by looking for holes in the offerings of your competitors. If everyone in industry fails to address a certain problem, boldly grab on to solving that problem and use your competition as the point of difference.

Solve A Problem - Is there something that prospects in your market fear or seem to believe is universal for what you do? If so, focus on communicating how you have the answer. Painless dentistry for example.

Another example a “remodeling contractor who found that what his clients appreciated the most was the way his crews cleaned up at the end of the day”. Study your competitors more closely. What do they do that you could do better, what don't they offer they you could, how do they position themselves?

Guarantee - Can you offer a guarantee so strong that no one else in your industry would dream of doing it. This one frightens some people but, you probably guarantee your work anyway, you just don't say so. Come out and boldly announce that you guarantee results and watch what happens!

Customer Service - Create your own over the top customer response system and word of mouth advertising will flow liberally. One of the greatest ways to kick this off is to over deliver on your first customer contact. Give them something more than you promised, give them a gift, give them a related service for free or at a good discount.

It's often better to find an idea/uniqueness you are passionate about. Once you find your chosen strategy or combination of strategies to differentiate your business, all of your advertising and promotion should be centered around shouting about that difference.


Finding Your Ideal Customer

Every entrepreneur should be intensely focused on his or her prospective customers. The ability to find a customer, sell your product or service to that customer, and satisfy the customer so that he buys from you again should be the central focus of all entrepreneurial activity. The greater clarity you have with regard to your ideal customer, the more focused and effective your marketing efforts will be.

Everyone is in the business of customer satisfaction in some way. The most important activity of any entrepreneur is to clearly identify the very best customers for your product or service, and then focus all marketing, advertising and sales efforts on this particular type of customer.

The goal is to paint a picture of who your ideal customer is. You’ll likely have other types of customers, but focus on the ones that you enjoy serving, and who you want more of:

Define your product or service from the customer's point of view: What does your product do for your ideal customer? What problems does your product solve for your customer? What needs of your customer does your product satisfy? How does your product improve your customer's life or work?

Define the ideal customer for what you sell: What is his or her age, education, occupation or business? What is his or her income or financial situation? What is his or her situation today in life or work?

Determine the specific benefits your customer is seeking in buying your product: Of all the benefits you offer, which are the most important to your ideal customer? What are the most pressing needs that your product or service satisfies? Why should your customer buy from you rather than from someone else?

Determine the location of your exact customer: Where is your customer located geographically? Where does your customer live or work? Where is your customer when he or she buys your product or service?

Determine exactly when your ideal customer buys your product or service: What has to happen in the life or work of your customer for him to buy your product? What time of year, season, month or week does your customer buy?

Determine your customer's buying strategy: How does your customer buy your product or service? How has your customer bought similar products or services in the past? What is your customer's buying strategy? How does your customer go about making a buying decision for your product?

Imagine placing an ad online for your perfect customer. How would you describe your perfect customer? What prospective customers are the most likely to buy your product or service immediately? What are the most important qualities that your ideal customer would have?

Your ability to clearly define and determine the very best customer for your product or service will determine your success in business. How could you find more perfect customers for your product? How could you create new customers for your product? Define your unique selling proposition and communicate this key benefit in every customer contact.

Most entrepreneurs aren't clear about their ideal customer. For this reason, they waste a lot of time and money trying to sell their product to people who aren't good potential customers. Your ability to clearly define and focus in on the customers who can most rapidly buy your product or service will be essential to your business success.

Every customer is important to your business plan, but the truth is that some are more important than others, and a precious few are most important of all. Knowing the difference if key. The difference between good and great customers is huge. As you start your first business, you know that some customers are more profitable, more pleasant, more apt to buy frequently, and most likely to spread good words about your business.

Those customers are the ones you want to focus on and increase in number.
 Make sure you know which customers are most valuable to your business so you can then focus your attention on strengthening relationships with them — and reaching more just like them. Your best customers appreciate what you do and willingly pay the price that you ask.

They also inspire your business to move in new and profitable directions. Do what you can to keep them loyal to your business. You’ll be doubly rewarded with repeat purchases and invaluable word of mouth.Your most troublesome customers are likely simply mismatched to your offerings. They’re excessively negative, unreasonably demanding, and maybe even abusive to your staff and your business systems. 

Watch for these indicators to flag customers you’re better off not having in your clientele:

They consume considerable time and attention yet buy very little. They demand unreasonable concessions on pricing, service, or product alterations, and, if you consented, these concessions would harm your business. They act dissatisfied no matter what you do for them. 

Great, good, and troublesome customers affect your business in very different but predictable ways, following the 80/20 rule, which is also called the Pareto Principle or the law of maldistribution. In most businesses, roughly 20 percent of customers account for 80 percent of the customer service efforts.

But keep in mind that the same 80/20 rule applies to your profits as well: 20 percent of customers will account for 80 percent of your profits. By identifying which customers fit into which group, you can spend more time with your best customers to greatly increase your profits.

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