The New Digital Imperative
The COVID-19 outbreak has brought about drastic change to the business landscape. However, there’s still ample opportunity for those willing to go all-in on creativity and innovation. If you want your company to grow, it would behoove you to learn the new business-building imperative.
Whether you’re a SaaS company, staffing agency or in construction, you should be thinking strategically about not only driving new revenue during these uncertain times, but also fortifying your business for years to come. In many cases, this is a golden opportunity to think laterally, leapfrog competitors and take a digital lead in uncharted territory.
How? Become a disruptive, digital business builder through the following steps:
- Identify specific problems to solve
- Go digital with new revenue streams
- Build fast
- Optimize, optimize, optimize
Build new digital revenue streams right now and in the months ahead. By selectively creating new revenue sources, you’ll afford your business the opportunity to grow in the face of unpredictable external factors. By following a path of solving specific audience problems digitally, moving fast (define product scopes that are realistic for fast launches), and then adjusting, recalibrating and optimizing based on audience feedback, you’ll be able to outmaneuver the competition and set your brand up for sustainable success.
The management consulting firm McKinsey points out that digital leaders outperform their peers across a variety of factors, giving them a competitive edge. With this in mind, McKinsey launched a new business, Leap, with the sole purpose of teaching established companies how to jump-start new digital entities, fast. Already, Leap has helped to rapidly launch more than 200 new businesses.
Ready for additional revenue streams? Great, here are 11 ways for you to start driving new revenue digitally and setting your business up for long-term success:
Launch Revenue-Driving Websites
One of the most strategic things you can do as a business now is to leverage your expertise to launch new revenue-driving websites. A good option to consider is niche, ecommerce sites.
There are two primary formulas for this:
- Target your existing audience with a new online offering. For a B2B player without an online purchase option (e.g., consulting and professional services), this means rethinking the types of value you can be delivering by doing so digitally and nimbly. For a SaaS company on the other hand, it may, for example, be a new, vertically-focused solution for each of your core markets served.
- The other option is to target a new audience with your core expertise. The idea here is that you identify opportunities where there’s a gap in the market, and you use your existing skill set to fill it. This is a model that Stratabeat has implemented with a recently launched website, and with another site currently in development. What we are doing is finding markets with outdated marketing, and then launching new modern sites that better serve and better resonate with the target audience, capitalizing on our expertise in brand strategy, web design, content, SEO, conversion optimization and behavioral intelligence.
Offer Online Tools
Another option for creating a new digital revenue stream is to translate your knowledge into a SaaS tool. This is actually the path that the software company Basecamp took, starting as a web design agency but then pivoting to software development when it realized that the internal project management tool it had created was worth offering as a product itself. Basecamp now has more than 3.3 million customer accounts.
If you’re already a SaaS company or otherwise entirely digital, think of the many quick tools you can offer as additional value-add to your main solution, or you can release a suite a smaller tools that can be bought individually at more accessible price points.
Productize a Service
For any service business, consider productizing your deliverables. Not only does this make it easier for clients to purchase from you, it enables you to refine your products through your experience of delivering repeatedly in a consistent manner. This opens the door for you to expand your audience and to scale the business, all while increasing profit margins.
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Establish Digital Distribution
If your business model is currently based on in-person delivery, rethink your distribution. Let’s say you offer a solution to support the health of salmon being raised in salmon farms. Once sensors are in place, the entire business could be delivered digitally. Or if you’re a wind energy consultant requiring onsite audits of installations, set up monitoring stations or have your clients share the view through a Zoom walkthrough and deliver your services electronically.
Change Your Product Mix for the Changing Times
The outbreak has led to changes across the business landscape. For certain businesses, this was a wake up call that the business was not prepared to survive in a digital environment. To mitigate risk while increasing streams of revenue, consider migrating your expertise to more digital-friendly formats.
For example, let’s say you’re a printing company, producing business cards, stationery, postcards, flyers and even restaurant menus. Obviously, you’re not going to get a lot of business at the current time. So why not move your exceptional design skills towards digital products such as e-newsletter templates, WordPress templates, social media design templates, Zoom background designs, and other digital templates?
Transform Your “Thank You” Page into a Sales Machine
This strategy is often overlooked. If you offer anything from a gated whitepaper to a market report on your website requiring the submission of a form for access, consider transforming your “Thank You” page from a static, one-time afterthought into a key momentum-driver in your funnel. Right there on your thank you page, make the next offer that leads to deeper engagement. Consider charging for it, enabling them to start purchasing from you immediately and at a far more accessible price.
Turn Your Expertise into Online Education
Every business holds special knowledge and expertise that others value. One option to create a new digital revenue stream is to launch online courses, bootcamps, classes, workshops, etc. Think of how popular Masterclass is right now! Create your own niche master classes for a highly targeted audience.
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Establish a Digital Startup Incubator
If you’re more ambitious in thinking of new digital revenue streams, consider establishing a digital startup incubator. For example, let’s say you’re in construction, something very much of an in-person, on-location type of business. Start fielding applications from startup business in the construction space for a virtual incubator, and help the rising stars with funding, consultation, guidance and introductions to industry players. This works just as easily for a SaaS business, where you can be nurturing the development of an ecosystem centered around your products.
Or, if your business tends to be resistant to change and innovation, consider creating an incubator for ideas from your own employees and set up an environment where they can thrive with greater freedom. Ideas that might not be readily accepted internally could then be spun off into new businesses and revenue streams.
Build an Online Community
If you’re in an industry requiring deep expertise or that’s fast moving and requires continual learning, consider launching a dedicated online community. This could be a combination of educational courses and resources, along with an exclusive Slack channel, plus one-to-one consulting. All for a monthly or annual fee, of course.
Look at Who’s Thriving and Pivot
In the current continually-changing business environment, you may just need to change your market or your audience completely, at least in the short or medium term. But that, in turn, opens up opportunities for you to target completely new revenue streams for the long term. Look around, especially in other verticals. What types of businesses are thriving right now? What lessons can you learn? What models can you emulate? Which new audiences can you serve?
Double Down on Existing Clients
And don’t forget your existing clients. Often, this is the first place you should look when developing new digital revenue streams. What do your customers of today need the most? How can you move the needle for them in new ways? How can you help them break the mold and achieve more? Sometimes it’s a case of rethinking the solutions you are already delivering to your existing clients and asking “What would this ideally look like in digital form?”. In other cases, brainstorm what their market or business should look like and simply ask yourself “What if?” and “Why not?” to arrive at new digital solutions.
Not sure where to start? Check out our innovation framework, and start exploring the countless opportunities in front of you to launch new revenue streams and strengthen your business for the long-term.