Should You Run Your Business Online?

by Patrick Liew on September 13, 2014

Many brick-and-mortar entrepreneurs are grappling with the issue, “Should I run my business online?”

I submit to you that’s not the question to confront anymore.

The right question is not about whether they should do it but when should it be done.

The business world is increasingly becoming a networked village, a community where online and offline channels are changing, converging, and creating new models.

They are transforming markets, industries, and society.

The resulting dynamics have made a permanent shift on how entrepreneurs can relate to customers and cultivate their respect, trust, affection, and loyalty.

As such, bricks-and-mortar entrepreneurs have no choice but to establish an online presence.

Let me suggest three reasons for doing it and doing it as soon as possible.

First, the online presence will help them shift from having periodic to perpetual and proactive engagements with customers.

Through constant communication and collaboration with customers, it can also help them co-create appropriate business models.

These changes will help them meet evolving needs, stay competitive, and achieve best practice.

Secondly, the online presence will help entrepreneurs shift from developing a short-term to a sustainable trust level.

All businesses are in the business of building trust.

In other words, if customers do not trust the entrepreneurs, they will stop doing business with them.

In a networked village, trust level can be raised or lowered much faster than entrepreneurs can launch a new customer loyalty programme.

Therefore, the first and last line of defence to sustain trust level is in cyberspace.

Through proactive online engagement, entrepreneurs can monitor and influence customers’ “chatters” about them.

These “chatters” include lies, half truths, and misinformation.They  are being transmitted through formal and informal forums and comments.

These “chatters” can create an online tsunami that can change the market and impact ongoing customer relationships.

Thirdly, the online presence will help entrepreneurs to meet not just customers’ current but also changing and future needs.

Customers’ needs are constantly changing even as the world around them are changing.

In many instances, they may not even know that their needs have changed or should be changed. They may not even realise what their business is or ought to be in the new world of disorder.

Besides earning customers’ trust and engaging them proactively, the online presence can help retailers to map out and meet customers’ multifaceted and multidimensional diversity of needs and requirements.

It ranges from their personal and professional needs, functional needs, business unit’s needs, to organisational needs.

Let me conclude with a warning.

Entrepreneurs that are not operating effectively IN cyberspace will soon be OUT of business.


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Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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