Savvy digital entrepreneurs leverage clever, inexpensive online platforms and applications to grow their businesses.
1. Don’t Buy – Subscribe
Today you don’t need to purchase your digital platform or website outright.
You really only need to do two things:
- Invest in a graphic designer.
- Find platforms and apps that allow you build out your digital business foundation by subscribing to them on a monthly or yearly basis.
This helps keep your capital in your bank account and your cashflow healthy and manageable.
It also keeps the expense off your balance sheet.
The digital systems you buy outright are a rapidly depreciating asset. In any business, unless you have a very large tax problem, a rapidly depreciating asset is a bad thing.
2. Spend Little
Spend as little as possible setting things up.
Its exciting. Launching or re-launching your business on the web is exciting. So exciting that sometimes we find ourselves spending more money than we should on making a brand new website. The only money you really need to be spending is on your graphic design (yes, it’s that important). Everything else should be off the shelf at this stage.
Because your website should not look the same in 12 months time. It’s a living breathing digital organism that needs to be constantly evolving. It can’t stand still.
So don’t spend too much now. Save your money.
3. Use ‘Off The Shelf’
We’re talking off the shelf, open source apps and tools.
Most savvy web developers will point you in this direction, anyway. It’s easier for them and better for you. Because in 6 months time when you need to make a tweek or two it won’t cost you a fortune (and you won’t be grumbling into your coffee) and the web dev will most likely have a customer for life.
There are many high quality apps and platforms available now and the longer they’ve been around, generally the better they are.
Natural selection: Over time the better applications and tools rise to the top, the not so good ones get left behind.
Time and again I run into the same comments and complaints from Small Business owners who’ve paid a ton of $ to Corporate Web Developers or SEOs only to end up with something that resembles exactly what they requested but only half resembles what they now know they need.
These guys aren’t in the Corporate game for nothing – but it’s changing as more savvy marketing execs come on board who are comfortable using bolt on apps an platforms.
So, unless you really really need to use a complicated proprietary software or platform, stick with my Principle #1.
4. Make it Scalable
Be sure you have the ability to scale your online platforms up or down inexpensively.
Use apps and platforms that allow you to expand your business operations as you gain more customers – these systems should easily grow with you, without you needing to enter into a second mortgage to pay the developer. In theory, it should be just a matter of moving up to the next ‘Subscription Package’.
5. Outsource & Automate
Do the stuff you love and not the stuff you don’t.
Being in the outsourcing business, of course I’d be saying this but it’s true.
Some of the Open Source, off the shelf platforms won’t be so easy to manage by yourself. That’s just the way it is. Mess around with them over a weekend or two and get a feel for them. Its always good to have some idea about how they work, but as hours become days and days become weeks, your Business will miss you.
So do the things that you love – writing your blog, being Social on Facebook and LinkdIn, creating inspired images for your Instagram account, whatever takes your fancy. But look for ways to automate the things you don’t enjoy so much, like many of the monthly chores involved in maintaining your website and digital presence.
I now outsource 90% of the website backend technical stuff. This is the stuff I know how to do but just takes me forever to do it, taking me away from my business. So I outsource.
In fact I started the company and built the team who I now outsource to: skimp.io
If you need help with any of this you know where I am.