With low start-up costs and an increasing number of outsourcing services, starting a business has never been easier. Naturally, those of us with existing businesses are working hard to exploit the cloud and other tools to improve the way we operate. But what if you had a blank slate? What would today’s ideal business look like?
First, a disclaimer!
Before you object, I’m not suggesting that only the following types of businesses can work – nor that they’re guaranteed to. Of course, all kinds of ventures can be successful. What I do say is that, if I were starting a new business, these are the qualities I’d look for.
1. It’s online
Today’s model business has a strong web presence. This means not only an attractive and striking brand, but online systems for customer engagement, service and support.
It’s a business in which the web is a logical hub: bringing together the business and its consumers.
2. It’s automated
From the new flock of marketplace sites to online merchants, today’s best businesses are those that require the least manual intervention.
Whether it’s purchasing or product delivery, automated processes mean less labour and lower costs. Most importantly, automation provides the ability to grow and reach profitability faster by reducing pressure on resources.
3. It’s low cost
In my opinion, to give a new business the best shot at success, a minimum budget of $50,000 is required.
Today’s ideal business stretches its initial investment further by pursuing a low-cost model using free or subscription-based tools for everything from email to customer relationship management. Keeping a low-cost base means a faster return on investment and more chance of profitability sooner.
It can be tough. After Japan, we know that Australia is the world’s most expensive place to do business. One important cost-saving measure is not to spend up big on lawyers – I see many start-ups spending thousands before they’ve even made a sale.
4. It’s portable
Today’s ideal business has a model that can be easily replicated in new markets. Whether it’s Perth or Singapore, a new business must be able to go to wherever the action is – taking its processes and systems with it.
This means harnessing virtualisation, from cloud computing to virtual office space, to build a globe-ready infrastructure.
5. It’s able to be outsourced
Much of what businesses do is the same. Whether it’s sales activities, accounts or customer service, Most aspects of the ideal business should be easily outsourced.
This helps to keep costs low while letting the business take advantage of emerging trends, such as crowdsourcing.
Not every business can tick every box, but the power-house businesses of the future are likely to meet most, if not all, of the above.