Are you building your online business with a clear picture of the future? Does it have a customer-first perspective based on value and trust? Is your marketing plan on target for sustaining the long haul growth of your business?
Superman has heat vision and x-ray vision, but what about future vision? It’s important to look forward into the horizon, to consider how one action will lead to another. So, let’s pretend you’ve been given a super power, the gift of seeing into the future of your business.
How will you change your strategy as you look keenly into what lies ahead?
The Blinders Are On: Narrow Vision
There is no inherent problem with optimizing your business for profit.
Take a sales page, A/B test it, and improve results by thirty percent and you’ve just placed a whole lot more cash in your pocket. Add a button in a key location in your email message, lengthen your sales page just a bit, add another call to action at the top of your most recent blog post, all could potentially increase your sales, but where does it stop? If you optimize the shit out of it, then what are you left with?
Where is the line in your business? When does focusing too much on profits today begin to negatively effect your reputation?
We’ve all landed on sites that feel over-the-top and spammy. They are trying to squeeze every last drop out of every visitor that lands on their page. The whole focus becomes getting that one more sale today.
It’s all too easy to get too pushy with your language, and go over-the-top with in-your-face design, so mush so that you alienate your audience and harm your long term relationship with your customers.
Bad Guy Versus Good Guy
Do you want to be that sleazy douche of a capitalist or the helpful, white hat online business owner. I see this as being either Lex Luthor or Superman. You’re either the bad guy online or the good guy.
Lex Luthor would build a machine that runs coldly, calculates, and sucks all the juice out of a sales channel until there is no life left in it. He’d burn through his audience and then craft a new scheme to do it all over again—ad infinitum.
Superman just helps people, which is really its own reward. As a super businessman online you have this desire to help people too. You do want to make a profit, but do so while staying on mission.
It’s fine to improve your marketing message, and optimize a bit, but be sure to draw your line carefully. If you go too far with your focus on optimizing profits for today, you’ll loose site of the vista. Don’t sacrifice that greater long-term relationship with your customers, as it can bring sales upon sales in the times ahead.
Don’t be like Lex Luthor; don’t be a douche online.
Long Term Business Perspective
When looking forward we have a wider lens. A microscope would look at what’s in front of our face today; whereas, looking into the future requires a high-powered telescope.
Our point of view is macro when we look at stars in the galaxy. Our mind’s are open to possibilities. You can envision action, reaction, consequence, and build a plan for your online business—one the marries your customer needs to your passions.
What does the future of your business look like? What will your core product or service be? Who will you be helping and how? Where will your business be a few months from now, a year, five years, or even ten or more? It’s important to think about this. Write down your ideas. Bang out some paragraphs in Evernote.
Here are a few narrower questions to get you thinking about the foreseeable future of your online business:
- Your Strenghts: What do you enjoy about running your business today? Can you do more of it? Can you shape your business in a way that leverages your talents and interests? As an entrepreneur, you don’t want to wake up one day and feel trapped in your businesses. You want to feel alive and passionate.
- Your Customer Relationships: How will you cultivate your customer relationships long term? What will an email look like from someone who just bought your first product a year from now? What do the comments look like on your blog posts five years from now? Think about specific engagement points you’ll have with your customer over time.
- Your Blind Spots: Where are your blind spots? Maybe you need to rework your copy to connect better with your audience. Maybe you’re struggling with making your branding less corporate in feel and more personal. Apply this wide angle view to various areas of your business and figure out where you’re being shortsighted.
- Your Big Projects: That thing your working on right now. Yah, that video course, blog post, or site redesign. That big project at the top of your to do list for this week, what role will it play in your audiences life three years from now? Five years from now? Is it important? Will it last and meaningfully change their lives?
These are Big Business Questions to Answer
Don’t feel the need to answer these questions perfectly. These types of questions should occupy a bit of space in an entrepreneurs mind always. Point your eyes at the future of your business, sketch out plans, and work on iterating solutions that fit your long term vision.
Don’t spend too much of your time optimizing what you currently have, instead focus more on constantly building something better for tomorrow. That’s where the bigger results lay.