What’s the main purpose of your online business? Think about this for a second, because it isn’t an easy question to answer. But really, it should be.
Determining the true purpose of your online business is harder than you think. Most people that set up online businesses are doing it to dispose of their full-time day-to-day jobs. To get more freedom and to able to spend more time with loved ones, and to be rid of the stresses of the nine-to-five workplace.
Therefore, people come online to make money to be able to live this way. To achieve a lifestyle. But going into business with this mindset, and holding on to it, can be very dangerous. Because you DON’T go into business for a lifestyle, you go into it for the customers. If you can’t accept this, then you shouldn’t be in business. Especially not an online one.
Go online and take a look at the marketplace for digital products (a marketplace that I work within every single day and know too well) and what you’ll see is product after product and claim after claim. The chances are – and this is the harsh reality of the online industry – is that those products don’t do what they claim to do.
In other words, sadly the online market place is full of predators that are out to get one thing and one thing only: your money. But this isn’t the way to go about it.
I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with many good people that are dead against this kind of a business, and therefore have learned that the only way to really build and run a profitable and sustainable business is to be 110% honest with the customer. That is, to over-deliver on what was promised, and go beyond that again.
“The true purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer, not to make you money.”
Sustainability and profitability. Those two things should never be underestimated (or forgotten) in an online business.
Your body needs food to keep yourself going, otherwise your life would abruptly come to an end. But the purpose of your life is not simply to eat, you have other goals and aspirations to work towards. And just like any human body, you need to be constantly feeding yourself, hydrating yourself, excising, sleeping and doing the leisure activities to fulfil your life to get to this goal. Eating is a requisite for something greater.
In business, it’s exactly the same. You’re not there just to make money, you’re there to fulfil your customer’s needs. How else are you going to sustainably run an online business when the internet if full of product reviews, Facebook comments, tweets, recommendations, discussion forums and score cards? You just can’t, because the negative will always be remembered and accessed over again. But if you consider your revenue as a means to keep your business going and to go beyond to better things, such as better products and services, you’ll start to outperform the competition. Revenue and profit are a requisite also for something much greater.
Look to take advantage of your customers and you’ll soon die a horrible death. Because no matter how good you are at sales and marketing, if you can’t keep a customer, you can’t run a business. So forget that lifestyle of working on your laptop from the beach… just for a second anyway! Focus less on the making money part, and more on the keeping a customer part. Because the businesses that are there solely to make money won’t be around for long.
Okay, I’m not against making money. I’ve worked on countless B2B and B2C projects where I’ve worked long and hard to hit targets and make the most sales possible (and more money). But the purpose was always to create a customer with the view of keeping that customer at all costs. It’s all depends on whether or not you’re looking for your online business to hang around for the long run?
When it comes to your online business, make sure that you see the bigger picture.