Building a valuable online business is something we all want. It’s one thing to be able to generate revenue, but building a business up to a point where it attracts investors is a remarkable feat. It gives you the flexibility to be able to sell the business and begin another project.
But even if you don’t want to sell, working to build value into the business is just one of the many ways you can help make your business run better. After all, a valuable business is one worth owning.
A lot of things go into determining a business' value. It should come as no surprise that revenue is one of the most important—yet another reason to make sure each and every page on your site is optimized for search engines and conversions. But things such as future growth prospects, risk management, records keeping, and processes will also affect the value of your business.
However, I am going to look at something that often gets overlooked when talking about business value: design. This is typically considered something complementary to the business, but it can actually have a direct influence on the valuation process. So, before you go running off to hire a business broker to evaluate and sell your business, consider the following points about design and your business.
First impressions are everything
This valuable life lesson is just as true when talking about business value as anywhere else. Just think about it: as an online business, your website is like your store. If someone walked into a store and it was run down, dirty and the staff was mean, how do you think that would affect their opinion of the business? Would they consider it to be a model, something worth throwing a lot of money at? No. Of course not.
Now it’s true appearances aren’t everything, but they do count for something. Your website is your first chance to wow customers and investors. If people are turning away because of poor design or because your site is difficult to navigate, investors will see this as a sign the business is in poor health.
Make sure the design of your site reflects what you want to be as a company. It’s your first chance to encourage positive associations about your company, and this can go a long way towards boosting revenue and value.
Design is visual branding
Companies with strong, recognizable brands that encourage customer loyalty tend to do better. It’s true you can succeed without it—just think of Comcast and BP—but small businesses almost need it to survive in today’s fiercely competitive marketplace.
Successful branding requires a comprehensive communications approach across a wide variety of digital and traditional touchpoints. You cannot execute a branding strategy with your website alone. But poor design can certainly derail your efforts.
You need customers to know almost instantly what you’re about when they land on your website. Design and copy are how you’ll do this. Work hard to make sure you’re sending the right messages with your design so that you can reinforce your branding efforts and make your business more valuable.
Good design drives sales and conversions
Having a website that converts well and that brings in revenue is essential to the success of your business. And the better you do at this, the more valuable your company will be.
Converting visitors into customers (or whatever else you would like them to be) requires combining content, lead generation and design. You must bring the right people to your site and present the information in a way that is both visually appealing but that also encourages action.
All three of these must work in tandem for you to have success. Good design will make the site easy to look at and navigate. And it will also facilitate action from readers. Highlighting calls to action or using visual aids to draw people’s attention are effective ways of improving your site’s performance.
You can also use design to highlight certain aspects of your business. For example, if you have products that perform better than others, you can use design to highlight this and encourage more people to buy. You can also use design to bring attention to promotions or best-selling items, helping you increase the value of each visitor to your site.
Design is everywhere
Revenues and growth projections are important for determining the value of your online business value. But they are not the only things that matter. Good design will help reinforce branding, create positive first impressions, and drive sales and revenues to help make the business more profitable and valuable. Take a look at the design of your site today to identify changes that would make your business more successful.