We can all assume that every entrepreneur and business out there that is even remotely familiar with business, has an actual website, right? Well, ok – not everyone does, but that is ok, it is probably too late for them, and we don’t need anymore stuff filling up the internet.

So, if you have enthusiastically joined the 21st Century, we can only assume that you have a website, correct? So, what is next, you are probably asking? As I routinely tell entrepreneurs, being online is not just about having a sparkly, squeaky website.

In actual fact, it goes back to the “why” you are online. What are you actually trying to accomplish? Yes, it may sound redundant, but you would be surprised at how many miss the point here.

Here are 3 simple things most entrepreneurs miss when growing their business online:

1. Digital Strategy. No, this is not a SWOT or a business plan. This goes way beyond that. It’s surprising what an actual strategy can do for your business, as you decide where to go and what to do. Are you jumping from project to project? You don’t have a strategy. Do you play with Facebook all day? You don’t have a strategy. A clear strategy gives you the direction that you need to go in. It defines why you are online, and how you are going to embrace certain things, and reject others that don’t fit. It allows you the flexibility and freedom to make decisions easier, as you know what direction you are headed, and need to head. Reduce the distractions.

2. Content Plan. All good things online have a story to tell, correct? Yes, as a matter of fact. The problem is that most people just talk, without actually saying anything. A content plan helps you develop your voice online, so you know what to say, when to say it, and where you will say it. It helps you talk directly to your audience through personas, or characteristics that your ideal customer exhibits. It helps you put a target on. Content is not your king, either; it is your muse.

3. Sales Funnel. Ooops. Did you know that 90% of websites do not even have a simple feature that allows them to start to communicate with their customers? Your website can’t be an online brochure – that doesn’t cut it anymore. Your website actually needs to work for you, by generating leads or sales through contact forms, downloads, gifts, activities, etc. If it is not, then you could classify your business as a hobby, as it won’t generate you an actual return. A sales funnel does not need to be complex; and no, you don’t get any points if you consider your sales funnel as your “Contact Us” page – that simply does not work to grow your contact database.

Which of these critical elements do you have for your business online? As an enterprising Entrepreneur, you need them all. Don’t cut and paste your digital ecosystem; build a strong foundation from the ground up, and you will see results develop for all of your activities.

Wait, what?! What about social media and the panacea of Facebook, you are probably asking – “doesn’t everyone need to have social media”? And yes, the answer is yes, absolutely; that is actually how you define your strategy.

Your strategy defines your social media activities and channels; your content plan defines what you will talk about on your social media channels; and, your Sales Funnel will actually allow you to start to generate a return on your investment with social media. Easy, eh? No, but at least you have a few concepts that can start to help you move things along.

Do you have a Strategy? A Content plan? A Sales Funnel? Please let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear what you think about these factors for online.