Set up these 5 steps and you have a sustainable online business

You recall your first online project? That blog you cherished so much but dropped it a little while later. Or the hype some guru (whom I like to call poorus at times) told you about having your business online but dropped the entire thing when you couldn’t figure out the ROI.

Well, here is the thing. Setting up your business online needs just as much attention as you do your physical business.

How you constantly think of finding new customers, maintain that customer… that’s the same thing you need to do for your online business.

The process is simple.

And the moment you discover your process, the easier it will be to manage your online business.

It is a five step cycle process that consists of:

  • Acquisition
  • Activation
  • Retention
  • Referral
  • Revenue

Acquisition – How do users find you?

What has been the most common way your clients have been finding you? Is it Facebook, Twitter, Magazines… what is it?

You need to find out the platforms in which your users or clients find you.

List them all down and tally them according to the relevancy or quality of leads you get from each platform.

What do I mean by this?

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Well, the final step in this cycle is you would like your users to be able to purchase from you at one point or the other.

So if Facebook has the highest number of people from this platform but your conversion is probably 10% (a person eventually buys from you) and on LinkedIn, you get half as much leads than on Facebook but you have over 50% conversion.

Then as much as you need to work on tweaking and testing how to finally make your users on Facebook convert more, you also need to pay attention on retaining the customers and how to get more customers on LinkedIn. After all, it is the process that is currently working for you.

Once you have established your predominant platforms it is time to work on strategies on improving these platforms and make them work for you the best way possible.

This leads us to…

Activation – Do they have a great first experience?

What was your first experience with Startups Kenya?

What was your first experience with your favorite brand?

Did they respond to all your queries? Did you feel appreciated or heard? What is it that made you stick with them?

Your first experience with anything, be it a person, a product or a service determines your relationship with that item or person in future.

Now imagine how many customers you are shunning away with not replying to their queries within 24 hours, or simply dismissing since you have already assumed they will eventually waste your time.

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And most definitely you have no time for time wasters.

Let the images and content you share online evoke the emotions you would like users to associate wit your brand.

This first experience will lead to a much better and affordable retention plan.

Retention – Do they come back?

What is the percentage of users coming back to your platforms?

Do they find you again organically while they are searching for something else?

Were you so impressive at first experience that they decide to pop back in to see what’s new with you?

These are the questions you need to ask yourself.

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However your customers or users find you, you need them to come back. What you should be aiming for is being the bouncing off point in your niche. And you can only do this if you generate a sense of trust with your target audience.

The more they trust and have find you likeable the easier it will be for them to buy from you in future and introduce their friends and family to you and your business.

Referral – Do they tell others?

A referral client is one of the cheapest clients you will ever get.

This is because your previous client has done all the work for you.

So your work is pretty simple to turn this client to a paying client. And that is to make their first experience awesome.

Once you get your business to a point where 40% of your business is referral, consider yourself at a point of success.

Now this is not to say you should now sit back and let your clients refer you to other clients. No. This is to say, you can use the referrals you are receiving as a way to entice new clients who find you organically or through your platforms.

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Unless you are not trying to grow your business exponentially. Then you can sit back and enjoy your current success by pleasing the clients you already have.

Revenue – Do they buy from you?

Finally the last step to successful online business is revenue.

You would like this process to help sustain you.

How much does it cost you to get a customer?

What is the average revenue per customer?

What is your gross profit margin? What is your net profit margin?

Needless to say, if you do not know your numbers you will burn out and eventually fail.

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Every cent you put in your business or get out of your business you need to know. It doesn’t matter if you love math or not.

Knowing your numbers enables you to find more and different other channels you could create to make more money.

And if your customer isn’t buying from you. Find out why?

What is holding them back?

How can you get them to open their wallets to you? How can you get them to beg you to take their money?

Once you have created all these steps:

  • Acquisition – How do users find you?
  • Activation – Do they have a great first experience?
  • Retention – Do they come back?
  • Referral – Do they tell others?
  • Revenue – Do they buy from you

You are guaranteed of a successful online business.