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Traditionally, businesses conducted their daily activities through the normal manual way. However, with an increase in the development of new technologies, majority of the businesses have embraced the new trends. This mainly involves running business transactions via the Internet without necessarily having to move physically (Phan 2002). Communication was previously characterized by postal and landline services. However, this scene is changing with the invention of the Internet. These technological advancements have made it easier for businesses to improve their production and services (Chaffey 2007). For example, customers can transact through the Internet and orders placed online. Meetings are held via video conferencing among other means. With the changing environment in the business sector, many organisations both corporate and private have considered adapting these new forms of conducting business, which will enable the business gain a competitive advantage. In the process, a number of issues come to play before a business branches out. Establishing effective and practical strategies should be a major consideration (Phan 2002). Even though expansion is lucrative, planning needs to be done to ensure it is in line with the goals and objectives of the business. A number of businesses have already adopted the use of e-business in their operations, which for some has been of benefit whereas other have had to close shops because of the rush to expand without considering various aspects that come to play. In this context, this paper will focus on the major methods a business needs to consider before incorporating e-business. Expanding a business requires well thought out plans and considerations; for instance, establishing if there are unexploited opportunities in the market or the availability of a new market niche that will benefit the business. However, not all expansions are profit oriented. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to a number of aspects.
Methods a Company should consider when planning to Branch out into E-Business
The development of a business to an e-business depends on the concept of product, place, process, and customers. These aspects play a major role in the establishment of a business. For instance, products are improved; the market place is changed to a virtual one where transactions are conducted effectively without the expense of transport thereby improving the process of conducting business. Moreover, customers can compare and contrast products in the market and select what is appropriate for them (Deb 2001).
First is the aspect of the challenges involved with the new advancement and those within the office. For instance, adopting Internet business conduction, one needs to be computer-savvy. Knowledge and knowhow of operating a computer is necessary for e-transactions. This is so to ensure that the operations are well conducted; skilled personnel can be appointed to handle the new changes (United Nations Publication 2006).
Contrary to the manual office activities where customers had to walk in to the business and filling of orders and documents were done. This would involve typing of documents and filling in the computers. Skills are required for building address list among other things. Therefore, a knowledgeable individual should be responsible for these operations. Many businesses have private systems for processing their orders. This has lead to the acquisition of new software, which enables the workers to conduct their work accordingly. In various occasions, businesses have trained its workforce on the operations of the new advancement. This helps to enlighten the employees and ensure they are familiar with the changes. Keeping them aware will enable a business to run normally (Li 2007).
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In other aspects, challenges of managing the new developments may arise. For instance, the accessibility of technicians to handle the new developments, computers are prone to mechanical damage, despite a business ability to incorporate it in their operations, it may lack a skilled technician for the same. Business administrations’ should consider this before expanding to e-business. Moreover, the aspect of added expenses coming in with the new advancements; the business should consider its ability to cater for the extra expenses that is characteristic of the expansion. For example, is the probable increase in power use and purchase of software as well as spare parts for the computers in case of machine breakages and in its function (Balbi 2011)?
Office landscape is another important consideration. When branching out to establish a virtual organization, business administrators needs to consider the security measures, they should adopt to protect their business. For instance, formulating rules and regulations, which govern the new business, should be paramount. Considering that, e-business involves the use of computers, it is important to ensure that the information stored is secure (Balbi 2011). It is important for any business establishment to have backup plans. This is to ensure that in case of lose of information, there is still some to go back to, for example, storing information in other devices. Challenges have arisen in the managing of virtual organizations. In essence, with the new advancements, people are still able to hack into the business system and take confidential information. Therefore, a business should ensure to have back up records for security purposes. In addition, ensure that the information is only accessible to trusted employees who will not jeopardize the business operations (Chaffey 2007).
Additionally, all employees in the business should be able to network effectively. This will ensure that all workers are familiar with the new venture and its operation. That is, by the workers embracing the new developments, they will be able to offer the same to the consumers. Moreover, focus should be on considering the availability of space for the perceived expansion. Computers are hardware that requires physical space to be set up. Office space should allow for the incorporation of the same. The comfort of the workers while operating the inclusions in the business will play a major role in ensuring that services and products are delivered with effectiveness and efficiency. Furthermore, if there is no room for expansion, a business should weigh the consequences of postponing its expansion until it acquires enough space or risk expanding it will be beneficial to the business.
Businesses need to ask if there are economies of scale that will be beneficial to an expanded operation. Researchers advocate for expansion of businesses if the economies of scale permit the business to conduct its operations at lower prices. A business can attain this through the ability to increase its purchases, which it is able to acquire at low prices. Expansions enable a business to acquire resources at low prices because it is purchasing for a larger market; this in effect enables it to stock its products for its consumers (Chaffey 2007).
Venturing into new markets opens up the opportunities for a business and expands its access to more chances. This is proven to enable a business protect itself from price cuts of its competitors. This is because, with access to different market niches, a business can increase its production and diversify its production. Therefore, increasing its income, however, one should ensure the new services and products have a market. Moreover, branching helps a business to increase its sales and eventually makes it possible for the business to make up for lower per unit profits. Similarly, it enables a business to gain access to more resources, which in turn offers more value for the consumers. Branching in essence leads to rebranding and improvement of products. A business is able to add value delivery to its consumers through expanding. This is because expansion means new improved production (Chaffey 2007).
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Consequently, the business cost of operation eventually comes down. This is because the cost of operation is cut down, for instance in advertising and purchasing, the expense of catering for these services is equally distributed to the new ventures thereby making it affordable for the business to administrate at lower costs. Therefore, a business needs to pay attention to these economies of scale before embarking on expansion. This will help to establish workable strategies that will benefit the business.
Moreover, it is important to consider if your competitors are growing. This aspect helps a business in the innovation of new ideas beneficial to the customers. Analyzing the development of your competitors in the business will help to design products that are unique and which help to distinguish you from the rest. In many instances, evaluating the rate of growth of your competitors work in favour of your business; for example, waiting to see the effects of the new advancements. This strategy has ostensibly helped a number of businesses to avoid loses. With new advancements in the world of business, few businesses are aware of the consequences relating to its adaptation. Therefore, for a rapid expanding business, chances of closing shop earlier are higher compared to one that adopts a slow growth rate (Sims 2007).
By evaluating the rate at which your competitors are expanding, one can analyze the risks and benefits of a venture before adopting it. In addition, this evaluation helps a business to establish other market niches that have not been ventured into. That is, it opens up other new areas that can bring in business to a business. Furthermore, this acts as a weighing scale for a business. It helps a business to know its place in the market. For example, measuring the extent of expansion made by your competitors act to motivate a business to improve as well, that is, it poses a need for the consideration to expand to keep up with the new changes in the world market (William 1983).
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Customers are characteristic of going with new developments in the market; therefore, need to change and meet their needs and expectations are important for a business. By evaluating what your competitors are doing, a business can improve on the same or even establish a very different strategy for achieving better results. However, before venturing into new heights, a business should consider its ability to finance the development internally or there will be need to seek support from other sources. Taking into consideration the financial standing of the business is important in light of further expansions. It helps in the prevention of overstepping one’s means and helps to manage expenses. In essence, all business ventures are for the effort of making profits and ensuring a cut down in expenses. If expansion is going to be costly, then other strategies are needed for the growth of the business. For example, in adapting e-business, a business needs to consider the expense of purchasing the computers and software for making the operations work. If the benefits outweigh the cost, then there is need to expand (Mendoza-Bates 2012).
Finances play a vital role in any form of business; it provides capital and caters for the business expenses as well as necessitates other investments for the business. Therefore, focus should be on the viability of a business to expand and the effects it will have on the finances available. In instances where expansion is necessary, but there seems to be difficulty in financing the same, a business can embark on loan application to help improve its business. However, focus should be on the ability of the new venture to pay up the loan. However, if this will strain the business capability to pay up, new methods need to be established. It is advisable however for a business to expand when it can fund its expansions from its current financial standing. This will ensure no extra expenses are encountered and pose a possible increase in profits, as it is an investment (Murray, Poole & Jones 2006).
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The ability of a business to grow from its current position is a sure sign that the business has a distinct market for its products. Therefore, expanding will further strengthen its hold on the same and even expand it. Customers are majorly considered the most vital concept of any business. Therefore, before expanding, a business need to consider who the target market for the expansion is. Will the target market be able to use the new improvements? Before venturing into any expansion, it is vital to establish the viability of the expansion and its effects on the consumers of your products. Acquiring basic information about your customers helps a business to meet their needs and keep the customers coming back to the company. Therefore, a business should identify what the consumer needs and design methods of delivering the same to maintain the market niche. Moreover, identifying the best ways of getting to them is vital. For instance, in the wake of a new venture, informing the customers of the new developments will help the business gain feedback on their take in the venture (Mendoza-Bates 2012).
Therefore, considering their ability and willingness to tolerate the growth of the business is important. This is because, as much as another individual manages the business, the customers are the ones in charge of ensuring the business in ongoing and operational. Without consumers, a business would not exist. Before embarking on expansion, a business should ask if the customers would be able to abide by the changes. For example, asking if the new developments will affect their business with the company; for instance, computerizing everything within the business for the sake of improving service delivery. These changes should be designed for the benefit of the customer. This will eventually lead to the development of the business (Mendoza-Bates 2012).
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Moreover, a business should analyze the economic condition of its customers before embarking on expanding its business. Asking oneself if the consumers can afford the new services or products is important. This is because, if there is a recession in the economy growth, consumers may not be in need of the new products you are offering. This will be an added expense for the business (Zuluanga 2011).
The business should find if it is willing to play a less practical responsibility in an expanded operation. Expansion of a business venture means new developments in the business. Therefore, there will be need to incorporate different aspects and ways of conducting business. A business administrator should thus be ready to share his role of running operations with others, for example, employing a new team to control the new operating system. This also will require one to have an open mind to new ideas and suggestions from others. Another question to consider is by a business asking itself, by expanding, are you attenuating beyond identification the passion that originally started the trade. Expansion at times diverts one from the original concept of setting up the business. Responsibilities increase and attention is divided among the various branches to be managed. Before embarking on the same, a business should consider if the objectives of the business are in line with the growth prospects (Zuluanga 2011).
In many instances, businesses expand to increase revenue whereas others expand to capture a wider market niche. Establishing the reason for expansion is thus important before a business embarks on the same. Having a purpose for expansion will help ignite the need to expand and eventually formulate the basis for expansion. Just because other businesses are expanding does not mean that one should too before considering the essence of the expansion. If the aim is to reach a wider market, this will initiate the formulation of strategies that will direct the business towards achieving the same (Zuluanga 2011).
Thus, in changing a business to e-business, the business administrator needs to have a planned strategy. This will help to budget on the expenses and mishaps that may arise from the expansion. In essence, it will give the business an upper hand in identifying the best methods for advertising its developments and getting to the target market without failure.
In summary, the adaptation of new technologies into the world of business has seemingly contributed towards its growth and development. A number of factors seem to come to play for this to happen. E-business has enabled the major factors of production to be improved and this in turn has enabled businesses to expand in their respective capabilities and ensure that consumers continue to obtain the same services and goods at a better setting.
For instance, identifying the needs of the customer will enable a business to design its expansion strategies for the good of the consumer. This in turn will be beneficial to the business as it will be able to retain and attract more customers. Furthermore, it is evident that before venturing into any expansion plans, time needs to be taken to establish the essence of the expansion plans. Planning is important, as it helps to weigh the pros and cons involved in the expansion. It helps to analyze the consequences and design the best possible ways of ensuring that the business does not meet its sudden closure before it grows.
This eventually caters for the needs of the business and the customers because proper measures are put to play. Moreover, this seemingly contributes to the achievement of the goals and objectives of the organization; thus ensuring the business does not stray from its original reason for establishment. Having a plan for expansion helps to draw strategies for the expansion, that is, it allows the business to revisit its objectives and goals, which then provide a road map for the growth.
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Another aspect to be focus on is the availability and accessibility of the tools for expansion. Before embarking on expansion, a business has to consider its physical space if there will be need for more offices as well as its ability to obtain the required tools and necessities for expansion, in this case, the availability and affordability of computers and their respective software.
Moreover, knowing what your competitors are doing is vital; studying their business procedures and progress will enable a business identify the necessary steps to take. A good exemplar is checking to see if the new advancements are operational and their effects on the business before adapting it. In addition, it can enable a business to identify other avenues of the untapped market.
In addition, the office environment is paramount. Educating the workers and enlightening them on the operations of the new advancements is important. Considering they interact directly with the customers, it is important they know how the new business works. This will help them in dealing with the customers effectively and with efficiency.
Consequently, before branching to e-business, a business should consider the availability and accessibility of a technician either within its organization or from outside. This plays majorly in setting up and maintenance of the new advancement. Having someone with the knowhow in the business helps it function normally and cuts down on cost of hiring outside assistance.
When a business establishes the economies of scale that enable it to carry out its functions well, it will help it in its expansion plans. Studies reveal that the appropriate time for any business to expand is when the economies of scale allow it to operate at low prices. This is supposedly achievable when a business increases its purchase. By increasing purchase, one can obtain resources at lower prices, which then will eventually enable the business to expand. This also contributes in a major way to the ability of a business to escape price cuts, which seemingly affect the business operations.
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