When I first began White Dove Books, I had absolutely no idea how I was going to succeed. I had no plan, no vision for the site and no thoughts about why it should exist or who it would serve. What I did have was a burning desire to succeed and the determination to make it happen. It is not the best way to start a website.
Over the years, of course, all of that gradually crystallised. Today, I am happy to say that I do have all of those things in place. But I know I could have been much further forward than I am right now if I had the understanding that I now have, right at the beginning. Succeeding on the internet requires some initial strategic thinking.
Here’s what you need to get worked out:
Firstly, you need a vision (or perspective). Even if you don’t know how to get to where you want to go, you need to know where you are going. This is very important indeed. As the Bible put’s it, ‘without a vision, the people perish’. Without a vision, it is impossible to plan, it is impossible to course-correct and it is impossible to measure your progress. Conversely, once you know your destination, you can give the project your best shot and tweak things as you go.
With your vision created, you can dedicate yourself to producing your plan. You can revise your plans, you can dump your plans and you can create new plans but first, you need a plan. Even if it is not perfect (and it probably won’t be) it is a fact that a fool with a plan is better off than a genius without one. This is something that T Boone Pickens (Chairman, BP Capital Management) was once told by his wise father. Without a plan, you can be very busy indeed getting nowhere.
Positioning is a marketing term and it is an important element of an intended strategy – sometimes strategies come to us completely unintended; more about that in a minute. People need to be able to see what you stand for and who you exist to serve. The people you intend to reach need to be able to find you and understand why they should make the effort – that’s positioning. In my experience just about everyone gets this wrong when they first try to create their online business.
Finally, patterns are the things we notice along the way. They are the insights that emerge from actually doing business. They are the reasons that people sometimes decide to change direction mid-course and pursue an unintended strategy. Changing direction is not a bad thing at all, if you do it for the right reasons i.e. because you have found a better route to your long term goal.
So there you have a little insight into the 4 Ps of strategy (Mintzberg). Get those things right and you will have made a very good start. You will be ahead of most other people just starting out. Get them wrong at the outset and you will be left floundering and ultimately wondering why your business is not taking off. Take it from me – someone who learned these lessons the hard way – the right strategy should be your starting point.
Do you want to start your own successful website? Then you should get yourself on my personal mentoring course right away, while you still can.