What type of problem needs fixing?
”How to fix my online business” is probably (I should have kept a log) the most common question we get. Normally it’s in the form of a call or email saying – help!
By the way, this also applies to offline business that has part of its operations online. For example – marketing, eCommerce, fulfilment.
After a quick conversation with the said business owner(s) the problem typically lies with either:
- We’ve stagnated and just can’t seem to grow (they also tell us they’ve tried everything).
- Things have been steadily declining quarter on quarter and they can’t turn things around (they also us they’ve tried everything).
The good news is, both of these problems are fixable. So if you’re currently facing similar challenges (and don’t worry you’re not alone these are very common) then by the end of this post you’ll have a different way of looking at your problem(s).
Fix my online business using a framework
There’re different names for thinking in a structure – system, framework, model. They all mean relatively the same thing and like I’ve mentioned helping us think in a structured way. Other advantages of thinking in the form of a framework include – controlled thinking, controlled experiments, it’s replicable, it’s visual and everyone understands the parameters.
An example of a framework is the business classic – SWOT analysis. It’s a way to systematically analyse your business within four buckets. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
There are tons of these frameworks that exist and I’d recommend becoming familiar with a few which are relevant to your business. A great book on the top to understand this subject better is ”The Diagrams Book”.
The framework we’ll use to help fix your online business is our very own BATON model. We’ve developed and used this model with various clients to help build their online business from scratch but also solve existing businesses problems.
Whilst other frameworks focus on specific areas within the business. The BATON model can be applied to any business, end-to-end. It excels in the area of marketing and sales. Which is often where most businesses problems lie.
To help your business, let’s look at each section briefly. But specifically focusing on questions focused around uncovering a solution.
When we’re wondering how to fix my online business. We can look no further than the first stage of the BATON framework.
B in BATON stands for Business. It all starts here.
It’s also a difficult one to sit around the table and discuss because often problems that occur here often mean a candid conversation with the business model itself.
Questions you’ll want to ask yourself include:
- Is what we offer still of value to the market?
- How has the market changed?
- Have we adapted to the markets changes?
- Do we need to pivot now?
The conversation within the Business stage of the framework is crucial. It can sometimes mean a matter of life and death. (Heavy! I mean purely in the business sense).
If blockbuster had seen what Netflix had seen and pivoted who knows what I’d be binge-watching today.
The second stage of BATON is Audience. This is where we often spend the most time with our businesses, clients and partners. It’s the hardest to pull and easiest to ignore.
Unlike the Business stage, this question is a lot easier to answer. And a lot quicker to come to a decision on a fix. There’s really one major question to ask yourself:
- Do you have a way to attract the attention of your audience – consistently?
Your answer triggers a chain reaction of more questions. Such as:
- Do you use direct advertising to attract your audience’s attention?
- Do you use content marketing?
- Are you using the right method for your business?
And so on.
Here once again you’ll need to be honest with yourself. But unlike the Business stage, you won’t be overhauling your business model. Instead, you’ll be engaging your marketing team to align with your business goals.
Most businesses leapfrog this stage altogether. When analysing their business we’d find a big fat gap where the ”T” should live. (BA_ON). Which immediately should allow you to see the benefit of a visual framework.
Also, don’t be surprised if your business has this gap within its operations. It’s normal.
In simple terms, do you have customers who absolutely love you and will buy anything you have to sell. We refer to these amazing customers within the BATON system as our Tribe.
Some starter questions to see if you have any problems in this are:
- Do you have followers who engage with you?
- When you launch a new product or service do you get instant takeup from a customer who has purchased something from you before?
If you’re sure you have a tribe then think about a different kind of a question:
- Is your tribe being taken care of, large enough or being replenished?
If there’s one big take away from this stage is the one I’ve highlighted I’ve just boldened.
As a business owner, you’ll no doubt be all over this one. This is where you offer your product/service to your customer. I won’t elaborate any further because this is where 99% (not an exact measure, purely for emphasis) of owners we speak to spend day and night focusing on their offer and often neglect everything else. Their business when the BATON framework is applied to it looks like this – ___O_.
For the 1% who want some questions to answer within this section, just in case it is a problem area. Then start with these:
- Is your product correctly priced in the market?
- Have you factored in or adjusted profit margins appropriately?
- Are you re-investing in the business or pulling all profits out? (To go on a 5* getaway in the Bora Bora).
Is it time to scale to fix my online business
The final stage to consider within the BATON framework is Network. This is where all online business owners dream to be. The point at which you can scale.
Its the final stage because we really want to focus on the first four stages before considering scaling (for most businesses).
The biggest learning I want to leave you with from this section is less of a question more of a statement.
After analysing your business by overlaying the BATON framework. You may find you’ve got everything lined up and you just needed a system to reassure you that its time to scale.
In summary: Fixing my online business
When wondering – ”how to fix my online business”. Remember BATON. Business, Audience, Tribe, Offer and Network are all key stages of your businesses operation which leaves no stone unturned. Especially focusing on sales and marketing as a means to fix the biggest issues most business face – stagnation and decline.