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8 tips for building and running a successful digital business


From online shopping and telehealth services to remote working and virtual workouts, digital offerings are expanding rapidly to meet market demands. Consumers rely on digital platforms for various daily activities, and there’s no better time than now to start a digital business.

But with the vast opportunities also comes intense competition. You need to set up your business to not only take off, but to grow sustainably for long-term success. Here’s how:

1. Start with a comprehensive business plan

You’d probably be tempted by “shiny, shiny things” when running a digital business. But these distractions will not only cost you time and money, but also prevent you from achieving your long-term goals. A well-written business plan can help you stay focused on your goals so you can invest your time and resources in what matters.

Your business plan should include your vision, mission, values, goals, financial plan, operational strategy, target customers, unique selling proposition, and competitive landscape analysis. Also think about the digital initiatives and technologies youto use to achieve your goals and differentiate your brand from your competitors.

2. Design a digital strategy based on the business plan

A strategy details how you plan to achieve the long-term goals set out in the business plan. The document should include high-level action items such as create a compelling brand story that resonates with your target audience, developing buyer personas to guide your marketing efforts and mapping the customer journey to inform marketing channel choice.

Your digital strategy should describe how youto establish an online presence, how do youd conduct e-commerce activities, whether youd offer digital products or services, and how youd Leverage digital workflows and communication technologies to improve profitability.

3. Build your digital foundation for your strategy

Next, you need to identify the right IT infrastructure and technologies to execute your strategy and achieve your goals. For most digital businesses, cloud-based applications provide scalable, flexible, and secure solutions to support long-term growth in a cost-effective way.

Some essential tools for a digital business include a business website, social media management app, e-commerce platform, mobile app, CRM system, and marketing automation software. Also stay up to date with emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, and Augmented or Virtual Reality.

4. Hire talent with the right digital skill sets

Digital skill sets in DevOps, cloud computing, business process automation, data management and analytics, cybersecurity, and digital customer experience are in high demand. put onDon’t skimp on recruiting and retaining employees – hiring high-quality team members with the right background and expertise is key to building a thriving digital business.

But finding the right talent is only the beginning. You need to have a comprehensive employee onboarding process to enable employees to do their jobs effectively and make the right decisions for your business. Proper onboarding and training can also increase employee satisfaction, which is key to retaining top talent in any digital business.

5. Protect your business with the right insurance coverage

No matter the size of your team, remember to protect your business and your employees with the right work accident insurance policy, even if you have a remote team or don’t sell physical goods. This insurance covers medical expenses and lost wages, as well as rehabilitation or physiotherapy. Not to mention that it is mandatory in many states.

Technology employees are prone to repetitive physical motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Workers’ compensation insurance can cover the rehabilitation or therapy required and pay a portion of the salary as the employee recovers, so your business doesn’t have to bear the financial liability.

6. Identify the right partners and suppliers

Running a digital business involves many moving parts and a wide range of expertise. Instead of developing all features in-house, you can partner with other companies to expand your offerings, reduce product development costs, and reduce time to market.

Look for vendors with a robust digital consulting component in their service packages to ensure the products or services you purchase can support your digital strategy and help you achieve your goals. If you have the financial resources, you can consider expanding your digital capabilities through mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

7. Track the right KPIs for continuous improvements

“What gets measured gets done.” The good news is that it’s now easy to collect data and track progress across digital channels. The bad news is that because it’s so easy to collect data, many companies get sucked into chasing vanity metrics and barking the wrong trees – spending resources to improve metrics that don’t contribute to their goals. .

To make sure you’re tracking the numbers that matter, take the time to identify the right one. key performance indicators (KPIs) that match your short-term and long-term business goals. Then, create a system to collect, process, and analyze data to help you generate insights to inform accurate data-driven decision making.

8. Don’t forget data security and compliance

You’ll likely collect a lot of personal data from prospects and customers digitally, whether you’re generating leads or processing online payments. All of your platforms, systems, and processes must comply with various data security laws, such as GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS.

Compliance is especially crucial if you work in a highly regulated industry, such as healthcare and finance. Not only does your business have to follow all the rules, but you also have to work with suppliers who comply with industry regulations.


There are many moving parts you have to manage when building and running a digital business. From writing a business plan to designing your strategy, hiring the right talent and working with the right partners, nothing can be left to chance. It’s worth building a solid foundation by following these tips so you can set your business up for long-term success.

Drew Hendrick

Drew Hendricks is Head of Organic Growth Marketing at Nextiva.