Every growing business needs a strong ecosystem in place. It’s this ecosystem that allows the business to operate as a whole, rather than separate departments. But all too often business owners don’t realise they’re lacking an ecosystem, and their business suffers as a result.
1. What is a Business Ecosystem?
A business ecosystem is essentially all the different parts of your business and how they work together. Marketing, product development, shipping, accounting, etc., all work together in some fashion to make your business ecosystem. And just like an ecosystem out in nature, your business ecosystem needs to have balance and cohesion in order to survive.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen organically. Since many businesses are built from the ground up, the separate systems don’t always develop together as they should.
For example, you may start off focusing heavily on creating products and shipping them out. Then, once you have this done, you then shift to your marketing strategy. As you get more customers, you then realise that you need to improve your customer service channels. The result is various channels that were all built without the other channels in mind, leading to a disorganised ecosystem.
2. How You Can Improve Your Business Ecosystem
To start improving your business ecosystem, you need to look at everything from a top-down approach.
For instance, rather than focusing on how your marketing and product development operations work together, and then moving onto marketing and customer service, you should look at the big picture first.
Take the time to really map out how all your current departments currently interact with one another by asking questions like:
- Where are customers going after they read my marketing messages on social media?
- Which landing pages are resulting in the most email newsletter signups?
- Which products or services are responsible for the most customer service requests?
The best way to visualise this is by thinking about your buyer’s journey. The buyer’s journey is the path that leads from unaware prospect to converted customer.
- Think about all the entry points of potential prospects and the steps they may then take.
- Visualising this process will show you how your different operations connect to one another.
Once you have this map in place, you can start integrating the different areas better.
For example, maybe you find that your Facebook ads are leading to landing pages that don’t directly relate to the copy within the ad. Or maybe your customers are reaching out for support through social media, but you have no way to efficiently pass them along to your customer service agents.
A great way to develop cohesion for your customers is through consistent marketing messages.
Make sure every contact point with your customers is using the same language and tone of voice. If your social media team is using a lighthearted and funny tone of voice, you don’t want prospects to land on a website that is all business.
3. Improve Communication
Another key to developing cohesion within your business’s ecosystem is improving communication.
Each of your departments should be able to easily talk to the other departments and have access to relevant information.
Your customer service team should be able to access customer data so they can keep a record of their interactions. Your marketing team should frequently talk to your product development team so they can put out messages about new products or improvements coming.
If each of your departments is operating on their own without sharing what they’re doing with the rest of the business, it will be impossible to develop a strong business ecosystem.
4. Start Analysing and Improving
Every business is different, and how yours needs to improve will differ from others.
The best thing you can do is take the time to analyse your own business and look for trouble spots.
- Where is communication falling apart?
- Where are your marketing messages differing?
- Which pages are losing the most prospects, and why?
Asking yourself these types of questions will give you a better sense of what’s wrong and then you can begin to plan out how you’ll improve your business ecosystem. To learn more about improving your business ecosystem, please contact us at any time.