….you should be!
What is e-Business?
If you engage with the internet as part of your business, you are in e-business. These days, this means pretty much every business is (at least in part) an e-business.
Without e-business it would be more difficult to find customers, more difficult to manage your business, more difficult to deliver products and services – and more difficult to get paid!
Does it matter to my business?
Think about the times when the internet goes down, or even when you were in a dead spot for your mobile signal. Suddenly there is so much you can’t do! Without the e-business part of your business, communication can be difficult, sometimes even impossible.
The same is true of business marketing. It is, after all, just another aspect of business communication. e-Business delivers a suitecof marketing tools that can be immensely effective – when they are implemented properly!
But this reliance is also part of the problem. e-Business is so ubiquitous. We need the technology to work so we equate e-business with the techies who know how to keep it running. They may know how to keep the systems running but this doesn’t mean they know how to make e-business work for you.
It’s not technology, it’s business
Technology is the means to the end, not the end itself. You may rely on your local garage to keep your car running and fix it when it breaks down, but you don’t expect them to help you decide where you want to go in your car, or how to get there. It’s the same with e-business. It is vital to recognise the difference between what the technology can do and how best to use it to help you achieve your business goals.
A joined-up approach
A sustainable, successful business builds strong, mutually beneficial relationships with its customers and markets. Reliably delivering these relationships calls for a joined-up process across four distinct phases:
There is no doubt technology has opened up opportunities for SMEs across the whole of this process. Nevertheless, the fundamentals of planning your business process are still essentially as they were in pre-internet days. The goals are the same, it is the ways to achieve them that have evolved.
Technical & Business advice – never the twain?
I have been working with SME business owners for over 30 years – precisely the period during which e-business has emerged to be the powerhouse it is today. Yet throughout this time, I have also recognised a constant. There are technical consultants who really understand e-business technologies and how to make them work, and there are business consultants who really understand the process of building and running a successful business, but it is incredibly rare, particularly in the SME world, to find someone who can deliver a truly joined-up approach.
Larger businesses, including larger SMEs, may have independent resources focussing separately on planning and implementation. The senior management team then brings these together to deliver the coherent process. However, in smaller companies, or when you are working by yourself there simply aren’t the in-house skills to do this – and trying to bring in and manage separate external resources can be extremely challenging.
Consequently, across most SME businesses, the processes of developing the plan and implementing it are simply not joined-up. The focus is on one or the other. Often this leads to frustration through either having a good plan that doesn’t get implemented or having a lot of activity but no real focus on business goals.
What a joined-up e-business approach can deliver
To build a successful and sustainable business, a well thought out and structured business plan is key. Having a solid grasp of internet technology in the context of a practical business framework is the most cost-effective way of implementing efficient communication and data management, and through these, delivering on your plan. Only when planning and implementation are joined up as 2 elements of a coherent process can you realise the maximum benefit and build a successful, sustainable business through which you can achieve your objectives, both personal and commercial.
e-Business – 3 Key vitals
- E-business is part of every business – including yours
- Understand how e-business and business strategy/planning integrate across your own business
- Recognise the differences but keep things joined up as elements of an overall process of planning and implementation.
If you are looking for a joined-up, intelligent approach, do get in touch.