Many brick-and-mortar entrepreneurs are grappling with the issue, “Should I run my business online?”
I submit to you that’s not the question to deliberate over anymore.
The right question is not about whether you should do it but when you should do it.
The business world is increasingly becoming a networked village.
A community where online and offline channels are changing, converging, and creating new models.
These channels are transforming markets, industries, and society.
The resulting dynamics have made an ever-evolving shift on how entrepreneurs can relate to customers and cultivate their respect, trust, affection, and loyalty.
As such, bricks-and-mortar entrepreneurs have no choice but to establish an online presence.
Let me suggest three reasons to go online and go online as soon as possible.
First, the online presence will help you shift from having periodic to perpetual and proactive engagements with your customers.
Through constant communication and collaboration with customers, it can also help you co-create appropriate business models to stay relevant and effective.
These changes will help you meet evolving needs, stay competitive, and achieve best practice.
Secondly, online presence will help entrepreneurs shift from developing a short-term to a sustainable trust level.
All businesses are in the business of building trust.
In other words, if customers do not trust you, they will stop doing business with you.
In a networked village, trust level can be raised or lowered much faster than entrepreneurs can launch a new customer loyalty programme.
Therefore, the first and last line of defence to sustain trust level is on cyberspace.
Through proactive online engagement, entrepreneurs can monitor and influence customers’ “chatters” about them.
These “chatters” include lies, half truths, and misinformation.They are being transmitted through formal and informal forums and comments.
These “chatters” can create an online tsunami that can change the market, affect reputation, and impact ongoing customer relationships.
Thirdly, the online presence will help entrepreneurs meet not just customers’ current but also their changing and future needs.
Customers’ needs are constantly changing even as the world around them are changing.
In many instances, you may not even know that their needs have changed or should be changed. They may not even realise what their business should be in a disruptive future.
Besides earning customers’ trust and engaging them proactively, online presence can help you map out and meet customers’ multifaceted and multidimensional diversity of needs and requirements.
It ranges from their personal and professional needs, functional needs, business unit’s needs, to organisational needs.
Let me conclude with a warning.
Entrepreneurs that are not effectively running their businesses ON cyberspace will soon be OUT of business.
I hope this message will find a place in your heart.
By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.
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