The need for Online and IT Strategies

Growing your business is not a simple task. You can have a great idea but if you don’t have a strategy, you have no plan - if you have no plan, your business is a gamble.

Without a strategy, there is generally no research and any project that you don’t know enough about is destined to cost you more, not deliver what you thought and take longer to implement.  It’s not like going out to buy a car – all you need to drive the car away is a licence, insurance and of course money!

With Websites, Online Marketing and the better use of IT in your business, you need to understand enough to specify what you want – not necessarily in a creative sense – but identifying what you want the website or the technology to do for your company helps put things into context - then you can leave it to the specialists to implement. 

With Website emphasis, you should research your competitors and your market and learn to understand what the buying public are searching for.  Remember the Internet is all about words!

With IT emphasis, you need support, policies in place to cover; offsite backup, disaster recovery, network management and maintenance, software licencing, remote access and so on. This is about efficient continuity of business and security of data.

To this day, many businesses think that because their website is nice to look at on screen that it will automatically perform well.  Sad but true!  You need to be honest with yourself and realise that if you don’t know enough about it, you need support to help you make wise investments for the future.

A strategic approach to this will look at a number of areas.  You shouldn't even be thinking about which developer to use yet.
Think about how you have made significant commercial decisions in the past – getting a new office, recruiting the right staff, which telephone system to install etc…

The use of IT is commonplace in business now and you increasingly depend on technology but on its own, typically IT does not make you money - selling your product or service does.   If you plan to take on E-commerce as an integral part of your business and your intention is to sell online, without a strategy, you are potentially going down a 'rocky road' into an industry that is generally unregulated, lacking in insurance and will most certainly cost you money.  The unfortunate fact is that like a car, your website will depreciate very quickly without maintenance.  Businesses that treat their website as an asset and investment will make money from it - those who don’t have wasted their money because it will not perform and often the developer will be blamed however this is blame is often wrongly placed.

Often, you will turn to a salesman for help because you don't know the right questions to ask.  Is that the astute thing to do?

Are you going to get anything other than their opinion on the products they want to sell you?  There is absolutely no issue in going to a salesman for advice once you already know what you want.

An e-commerce investment could easily cost anywhere from £10,000 to £50,000 – do you have this kind of money to spend without knowing what kind of return you should expect?

People can be a company's greatest asset - think about your website as one of your sales team. You also need to think about Website and Online Marketing and how the site will actually be marketed as without knowing how to do this, you will certainly struggle to get prominence and relevance on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Many tens of thousands of businesses have been disillusioned after spending lots of hard earned cash and getting a website or IT solution that does not deliver what was wanted.

How do you set targets? How do you measure effectiveness? How do you analyse the visitor information? How will you make sure that you have the best chance of making money?

SMART Partnerships are one of only a few truly impartial Website, Online and IT project practitioners in the UK you can engage with to help you answer these questions and more. It takes only a moment to make contact with us and we can then help you to shape and develop the strategy you need to start delivering results.