Do you really think your online business is safe? Your computer, your bank account and your domain might be safe, each one being located in different areas. But have you ever wondered if your data flow is safe? Or what if somebody is monitoring your activity?
The key to be safe online is anonymity. There is a lot of data flowing around the world, there is no doubt about it. Is important that you want your business or marketing campaign to stand out between the billions of bytes traded between computers.
From a business perspective, standing out is imperative. Your business or your marketing campaign needs to stand out in front of potential customers. That’s where standing against the crowd and being remarkable should end.
For the remaining parts of your business, anonymity is key. You need to have your data flow and your marketing campaign back-office process as secretive as possible.
WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS SECRET?
In his book “Zero to One”, Peter Thiel mentions that great online businesses are based on a secret. A secret means that you understand the marketplace in a different way than the other market participants.
So let me ask, what is your business secret?
I am not asking about your skeleton in the closet. I am asking about that one process or system where your business is better then the rest of your competitors. What does really separate you from your competition?
Let me give you an example. We all know Amazon, their products and their everything store motto, but their operational department is covered in secrecy.
Why is that? Jeff Bezos understood their strategic advantage is not the website design, or marketing.
Amazon’s strategic advantage is their process of storing, sorting and fulfilling with laser-focus precision your orders. Even if tomorrow a company tries to compete with Amazon, they might have the same website design and same prices, but they are not going to match Amazon’s operational excellency.
We know their secret, but can we replicate it? Not even close because their daily processes are more secretive than the Vatican Archives.
All that I want you to understand is that your business secret needs to be guarded fiercely. You competitors don’t have to know, they have to guess what and how you are doing business. Because, for some of you revealing this business secret to your competitors can mean bankruptcy.
INFORMATION IN YOUR ADVANTAGE
Unless you are a landlord or a shopping mall owner to generate revenue from rent, there is a high chance that your business is essentially trading information for a profit.
In the online world, where you can’t build a physical business, besides the operational secret mentioned above, your business is basically dealing in information. You use your skills or tools you get the information of where and what your buyers want. Once you know this piece of the puzzle, you either create a product or look for suppliers where you can get that product so you can resell it.
The business game is all about information. You receive information, you look for information and you create information. And there are usually three ways of getting an advantage with information, be the first, the smartest or cheat.
Anonymity comes into play here and is useful. Depending on your business model, information is vital to your advantage. Either the way you receive information, you research it or the way you create it needs to be safely guarded. Information is as important as your operational secret.
In addition, you are using information from the greats of Google or Facebook, to research and better understand you customers. But do you really want your business process information to be sold by Google or Facebook towards your competitors or to other companies?
What do you think that happens with information once disclosed? It becomes irrelevant. So if your business deals in information and that information becomes irrelevant, there are high chances your business will become irrelevant as well.
DOMINATE YOUR NICHE WITHOUT COMPETITION
If the first reason for anonymity is to guard against your present competition. The second reason is to guard against information spread that tends to make your business irrelevant. This third reason is to protect your profits.
Transparency is great in every aspect of society. But as mentioned above, for a business to be functional and profitable a certain level of secrecy and privacy is needed.
Your online business needs protection not only against incumbents but also against new competitors entering you market. Because usually when a company enters a new niche or sector, they tend to research it. And the last thing you want watching over your business are the stringent eyes of a heavy competitors.
Even if you are watched over and everybody knows what you are selling, you have to keep your competitors puzzled. You need anonymity in order to give them as little clues as possible about the potential of you niche.
A FINAL WORD
When we think of online anonymity, we tend to think about our personal data privacy. With today’s tools developed to monitor the web, a risk to you business is becoming more present than ever.
This risk is not only about data leakage, but also about competitive advantages being blown and businesses going bust.
If you want your business to continue to prosper you have to take anonymity into consideration before is too late.