In the new economy every business will benefit from an online offering. It is no longer enough to do what we have always done. We recently saw the entire world doing life from home. They looked to the internet for their offerings. Did they find yours? If not, let’s fix that. Here’s how to identify and add an online revenue stream to your business.
Look to Your Competitors for Ideas for Online Revenue Streams
It is always a healthy practice to look to your competitors. Look to them as a gauge for what inspires you and for what to avoid. Look to see what they are doing and how could you do it better in your own way? Do not get too caught up in this, only let it serve you.
In this light, ask what services or products have your competitors offered online? You may need to cast a broad net for this answer. It may not be found in your literal competitor next door. Look to the big stage of business. What are the big brands in your arena offering online that you do not?
Study their websites and identify anything they are offering you do not. Whatever you see, write it down—even you think it will not work for you. You are basically creating a master dump list. Everything you see top competitors or peers in your field doing online, write it down.
Ask your Clients & Yourself
During Covid, it was easy to look around and see what we all were looking for. Our complete environment had changed overnight and suddenly we were all looking for at-home experiences. We were all looking for different ways to use and do the same things in a new way.
What were your clients looking for? How could they have experienced your products or services online? Think broad and big here. Dismiss nothing. Write it down. Yes, even what you think doesn’t work for your business.
Next, ask yourself what would you have wanted as your customer. Become your ideal client and think as they think. What were you wanting or would you want in order to experience your product or service remotely—online, without going somewhere physically?
Think of the pain points that drive your avatar (ideal client). What could you offer online to solve those areas of concern? What could make it easier to buy from you?
What is one service / product you could offer online?
You should now have a nice list of options and possibilities. The key now is to look beyond what you have always done. Remember, do what you’ve always done and you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. Here we are looking for new opportunities.
Look through the list you’ve made and keep an open mind. Think outside your box. You will be tempted to offer excuses as to why you can not or should not do any of the things on the list. Common resistance looks like, “well, that’s just not how I do things” or “a real artist does not offer that” or “my level of restaurant couldn’t possibly…” or, fill in the blank.
Your mind will naturally create obstacles. Your job is to look beyond what you are doing now and choose something that could work for your business. You have already identified it is being done and you and/or your clients need the service.
If you are a retailer, the easy answer is offering your stock online. If you are an artist or instructor of any kind, are you offering online workshops, classes, courses, private virtual lessons? If you are a maker of any kind, are you offering digital products or even a way to order digitally? If you run a restaurant, is your menu clear on line and easy to navigate? Can clients easily place online orders? Are there any items that could be ordered and delivered?
The list goes on. Again, think outside the box. And, pick one.
Yes, pick one thing you could add online right now. Pick the easiest thing to add to get started.
How to Get Started?
You have already begun. The ideas are flowing even if you have not started the actual list above. Let’s follow it through.
Set aside an hour to really brainstorm. Go through the steps above, do the actual research and make your lists.
Decide on one avenue you could add online right now. Put the barriers aside.
Make a plan. A goal without a plan is just a dream.Write it down!
If you are a business I am assuming you already have a website of some sort. If not, add that to your list. Every business should have its own website. Social platforms are great, but you do not own those. Your website is your store front online. And it belongs to you. That does not mean it has to cost thousands. Start with a platform like Wix. It is easy to work in and does not require a design or web background. If you need help, hire it.
Email your clients. This is where you can directly reach your clients. Email them and let them know about your new online service / offering. (If you do not have an email list, start one today!)
Post on social. Advertise your new offering on your social channels.
The most important step is to start now. Today. Do not put this off.
The digital economy is here to stay. We must grow with it or be left behind.
Remember, you have already seen your competitors or big brand peers are already doing it. It can be done. You must adapt to survive. And, my goal is always to not just survive, but thrive in business and in life!