This article is contributed by Kristie Lewis.
Most of you who visit here most likely own or are otherwise involved in an e-business, just like I am now. However, I spent nearly two decades in the construction business, at one time as a manager and several years as an owner. While it may seem that the construction business and e-business ventures are completely incompatible, there are many things I learned during my time in construction that I think can help and inspire online business owners.
Here are a few things that e-businesses can learn from more traditional businesses like construction:
- Your business is only as good as the people who work for you.
As a construction manager, I realized quite quickly that the strength of your enterprise rests entirely on how dedicated and motivated your employees are, from the top of the chain to the bottom. It doesn’t pay to have just one or two stellar employees, while the rest of them are bored or unproductive. By getting everyone on the same level of excitement, motivation, and discipline, you’d be surprised by how quickly your business grows and strengthens.
- Finding clients is easy. Keeping clients is what will dictate your business success or failure.
As a construction business owner who serviced mostly the private sector, I had to constantly seek new clients in order to maintain my business at the beginning. However, finding clients in whatever business is usually fairly easy. In terms of a long-term business strategy, it’s those repeat clients and repeat website visitors and repeat customers who will form the backbone of your business. Of course, it’s always good to get new clients, but do a solid job with each one of your clients and keep in touch with them, so that your business can maintain a core group of true believers. This core group will then do the marketing for you via word-of-mouth.
- Even the most traditional businesses must have an online presence in order to succeed.
When I was in construction, many people in the business more-or-less scoffed at the idea of having an online presence, just because construction is a very traditional business that uses traditional channels of marketing. At the same time, even the most traditional of businesses, like law firms and newspapers, have found that the only way to really survive is to establish a visible online presence. When my construction business set up a more professional and social media-friendly website, our business experienced demonstrable growth.
- Even the most online-heavy businesses must have an offline presence in order to succeed.
If you own a business that conducts all its transactions and interactions online, you may think that you have no need of establishing a physical, offline presence. You’d be surprised by how much your online business can benefit from attending conferences, talking to people, carrying business cards with you and handing them out when you have an encounter or conversation with a stranger or acquaintance. Don’t ever minimize the importance of face-to-face interaction in the realm of business.
What business lessons have you learned from your previous careers and jobs? How can you apply them to your online business ventures today?
Author Bio: After spending several years in the construction industry, Kristie Lewis is now a freelance blogger and writer. Informative and helpful, Kristie Lewis’s construction management blog at www.constructionmanagementdegree.org offers insight into that ever-evolving industry. Email her your questions and comments at Kristie.firstname.lastname@example.org.