The power of numbers has always been the driving force in every successful business. In the contemporary business environment the Internet has phenomenally changed the way business is done globally. To appreciate this, consider a prediction by Eric Schmidt the former Google CEO who predicted that everyone will be online by 2020.
But away from such long projections, you just need to look at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) data showing that over 3.2 billion people are actively using the Internet today. The world internet penetration by 2020 according to the same projections by ITU will be 85%. This means your business must have an online presence in order to compete effectively. With such numbers this is a platform you cannot dare ignore.
Expected Online Business Management Challenges
Nevertheless, like on every platform, there are hiccups most new businesses will face. As a business manager you are tasked with the unenviable task of maneuvering through emerging unique challenges in order to move your brand to the top of your industry.
Such challenges include:
- Low market penetration
- Poor online visibility
- Lack of technical expertise
- Increased global competition
- Lack of enough resources
There are many other challenges, including the precarious nature of the Internet. All these call for creative online business management. The issue of cost in today’s capricious global economy also comes into play. As the project manager, you have to capitalize on cost-effective management strategies to assure stakeholders of the viability of the business.
Walking the Narrow Path in Management
Managers are supposed to be innovators and you have to ensure effective management while at the same time assuring stakeholders that their money is not going into a black hole. This is where cost-effective online business management comes in handy.
Some of the proven principles to help you walk this narrow path include:
1. Leverage Marketing Expertise
According to the U.S Small Business Association (SBA) most managers don’t have time for PPC campaigns and other SEO techniques. As such, the association advises the use of outside expertise. There are many internet marketing firms which can manage your marketing and help you increase your website rankings as opposed to carrying out such campaigns on your own with little or no success.
These experts are able to keep up with the ever fluid internet marketing trends and they will be working in the background to help take your website to the top of Google, Bing and other search engines for your target keywords.
2. Focus on Fundamentals
Every business is unique and when it comes to management you must identify your fundamental management practices. As a manager you will find that your employees are always online, either playing games, on social media, reading blogs among other non-core activities.
These add no value to your brand. The success of your business lay in how well your team is able to focus on key fundamentals, whether it is social media optimization, SEO, serving clients or other activities that are relevant to the business.
3. Specific Performance Objectives
Most managers are quick to decry the state of their online businesses, but how well have they set the performance objectives for the team? There must be clear and consistent performance objectives which every team member must be aware of. The first step to online business success is setting and aligning the company’s expectations to ensure that the boat sails towards the same direction.
4. Reduced Organizational Red Tape
Every successful online business executive will tell you how fast things move on the Internet. What needs to be done today must be done today or else it will be obsolete the following day. As such you need to cut the red tape.
A sophisticated management system might have been the apex of good business practice a decade ago, but in online business, communication has to be real-time to allow decisions to be made remotely and fast.
5. Innovation is Vital
For cost-effectiveness in management every project manager must embrace emerging innovations. For instance, traditional marketing cannot work for online platforms and this is where social media marketing, email marketing, SEO, PPC advertising among other techniques come in handy.
There are many other areas where a manager can incorporate new ideas to make things easier, including payments, communication, among other areas. In most cases, the maxim is; automate to optimize which means systems should rely on technology, both for cost-savings and reliability.
6. Visibility is Key to Management
Have you ever tried searching for a certain brand online only to find you are taking more than a few minutes to find it? Most likely you moved on to the competition. Managing a visible brand is much easier because the traffic will keep flowing to you.
When you have brand mentions on social media; YouTube videos, active Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts ,etc it is easier for target clients to find you. As a manager, you will find that your marketing budget goes down as more people get wind of your business.
A brand such as Twitter, for instance, doesn’t need to explainer YouTube videos because everyone knows something about the service. Your brand needs to leverage the power of high visibility in making cost-effective management a reality.
7. Watch the Competition
The beauty of online management is the fact that you can use data available online to learn about your competition. If your competition is publishing content on certain blogs you need to get down and understand why. In fact, try and see what type of inbound links they are getting from such techniques. If that is what is making them get better rankings on search engines then you can also work on getting even better back links from similar sources.
By using competitor insight data you are able to put their knowledge to your advantage. When coupled with your comprehensive know-how you are able to strategize on how to reduce costs in running your business.
If your competition is using guest posts and you haven’t tried them it is time to look at their rankings on Search Results Pages (SERPs) relative to yours. If it is better you need to brainstorm as a team how to use guest posts to drive quality traffic to your business website.
Cost-effectiveness is the buzzword today in online business management. With so much to be done, you need to capitalize on available knowledge in order to lower your costs. It is also important to appreciate the need for innovative thinking in every aspect of management. This is one of the ways of lowering operational costs and increasing your business efficiency.
By making it easier to make decisions and leveraging on available data you will be on your way to online business success.
Image: Alexander Franke