You Bought an Online Business. Now What?

Buy and sell online businesses

This article was originally published on Entrepreneur.

So you’ve bought an online business. Now what?

First, congratulations. Purchasing a business is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Think about all the elements of your business that attracted you to it from the beginning.

What made it appealing?

Perhaps that SaaS business has a strong potential to scale. That content site is generating a healthy amount of organic traffic. Or your ecommerce store has a steady stream of income. 

The common denominator between all these assets? A potential to grow. 

Related: 7 Online Business Ideas That Could Make You Rich

When it comes to thinking about your business long term, scaling should be in your list of priorities. Here’s how you can accomplish just that.

1. Make data-driven decisions

The numbers don’t lie. The stats are there for a reason. When it comes to successfully running your online business, don’t rely solely on your wants and desires. Gaining insight on your target market, consumers and customer purchasing behaviors is the key to running a flourishing business in the long run. If you consistently offer your customers exactly what they’re looking for, you’ll be able to identify and forecast market trends for your business.

When it comes to collecting data for your online business, here are some tools and key information to consider:

  • Use Google Optimize. Google Optimize works as an editor and a reporting suite, allowing you to create various altered versions of your page while using data from your linked Google Analytics account. This tool allows you to discern which version of your page gets the best click-through rate. You can test elements like language, color and text placement to influence conversion.
  • Gather user-experience data. There are many ways to garner user-experience data. For many, conducting surveys is a common practice. You’ll want to ask broad questions to your audience and, ultimately, identify key solutions for your business. There are many ways you can use your survey. You can ask questions about existing products or gain insight on how keen your customers are likely to feel about potential future products.
  • Understand purchasing behavior. Purchasing behavior, also known as consumer buying behavior, refers to the journey taken by a customer to purchase a product or service. For a customer, purchasing a product may look like using a search engine to buy a product, engaging with a social-media post or clicking on a website ad. Understanding the customer’s journey to purchase can help you establish marketing tactics that will allow you to garner more customers.
  • Calculate net-promoter score. The net-promoter score is a customer-loyalty metric that measures client satisfaction through a simple question like, “How likely are you to recommend your product or service to a friend or family member?” Based on results, this metric will give you insight on the growth potential of your company or product. A business’s net-promoter score can be calculated with the following formula: net-promoter score = % promoters – % detractors.

The list of data-driven insights is exhaustive. Make sure to leverage this metric to scale your business.

2. Hire an agency to help grow your business

You’re probably thinking, “I just spent money to purchase an online business. Now I have to spend more money to grow it?” The answer is yes. This option is ideal, of course, for those who have no experience running a digital business or lack expertise in some areas of the business. Statistically, your business is more likely to fail if you don’t have the knowledge to run it. Investing in the necessary tools and resources to help grow your business will save you money in the long run and reap great rewards for your company.

Consider hiring an independent contractor or using a marketplace like Flippa that offers business owners post-acquisition growth services. Additionally, depending on the kind of business you own, you may want to hire the right people to fulfill duties like SEO, staying up-to-date on all Google rollouts, web design, and advertising and creatives.

3. Have a marketing strategy in place

When it comes to the perfect marketing strategy, each business is different. It all boils down to what works best for your online business. Some online businesses may do well with paid ads, others may perform better with social-media advertising, email marketing or ad campaigns. As previously mentioned, the key is to study your target audience. Truly hone in on their wants, needs and likes. What makes them tick? What gets them excited? Once you truly understand your customers’ behavior, you can start exploring different marketing strategies. It may take some trial and error to see results, but when you find what works well for your company, the rewards are endless. 

Related: How to Start a Business Online

4. Hone in on your user experience

When it comes to user experience (UX), simplicity and efficiency are best. Your customers shouldn’t have to go through hurdles on your website to purchase a product. If they do, then it’s time to ensure that you don’t have any friction in the checkout process. If you have an ecommerce store, ensuring that your shop is desktop- and mobile-friendly may be a strategy to increase sales. Think of all the possible ways that you can make your customer’s journey to conversion simple and easy. 

5. Do things that don’t scale

So you’re probably thinking, “I went through a whole bunch of action items of things to do in order to scale, and now I’m told not to scale?” Not exactly. Sometimes, scaling long-term may mean spending time or money on things that may otherwise cost you more than expected. This can look like taking extraordinary measures in order to gain new customers, sending each new user of your SaaS business a hand-written “thank you” note or finding new ways to make a new customer feel special. It all starts small and may feel time-consuming, but these are the things that make the most difference in the long run. 

Related: Discover What It Takes to Scale an Online Business

When it comes to growing your online business, the strategies to consider are endless. The goal is to find what works well for your business and stick to it. It may take some trial and error, but remember that there are plenty of resources out there to help you scale. 

And, of course, have fun while doing it.

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