Starting a small business in the Internet age has always been challenging. Running a small business in the digital era has always been more challenging. It seems like small business owners are inundated with changes to the digital landscape, and it can be difficult to keep up with technological advancements while still trying to move your business forward. In this article we will discuss digital transformation for small businesses and how business owners can leverage the power of digital to improve their operations and bottom line.
Rethinking Your Strategy
Even surrounded by technology, many small business owners start out with an analog mindset. After all, this is the way small businesses have operated for decades if not longer, so why try to fix something that isn’t broken? However, the truth is that the analog way of thinking can cause your small business to fall farther and farther behind.
Instead, small business owners these days need to rethink their strategies and embrace the concept of digital transformation. Digital transformation for small businesses means marketing to existing customers using new technologies that connect and engage more meaningfully. It also means maintaining the same time-tested business models but implementing digital tools into your frameworks to improve productivity.
A Total Change?
As mentioned, a digital transformation often means transitioning to new technologies while keeping the same business model intact. In some cases, however, small business owners discover that the transformation process opens up new possibilities for business practices, brand values and company mission objectives. While a digital transformation doesn’t have to involve a complete and total change in how your business operates, sometimes a major disruption is a good thing.
Small business owners stuck in the past and unwilling to evolve often spend years spinning their wheels. Those daring enough to take on a digital transformation typically find the process rejuvenating and refreshing. Some even walk away with a new outlook on business and an optimistic vision for the future where mediocrity once ruled the day. How your small business undergoes a digital transformation is up to you and your team, but you’re encouraged to approach the process with an open mind to get the most value out of change.
An Example of a Digital Transformation
To help you better understand the principles behind the digital transformation process, consider this: as a business owner, you already know that customer service is the lifeblood of your organization. Providing the best possible service to your company’s customers places your brand at a competitive advantage. Once again, this is time-tested advice that businesses have used in all industries since the dawn of commerce.
The question then becomes – what tools are you using to deliver this customer service, and moreover, are there digital tools that can provide the same level of customer service at a lower cost and with less labor required? Upon investigation, you will find that many digital tools can meet this challenge, which is the essence of digital transformation. It is the transcendence through analog ways of finding technology solutions to serve customers and support your company’s bottom line more efficiently.
What Do Customers Expect?
In keeping with the above, venturing into a digital transformation for small businesses is meeting your customers where they are. Using the same customer service example, are you more likely to connect with your customers by handing out flyers on a street corner or maintaining a strong social media presence? Where are your customers, and what do your customers expect?
Using Technology to Get Answers
If you’re unsure what your customers expect, a digital transformation can also help with this. Machine learning, artificial intelligence and other digital technology solutions can help your small business to identify aspects about your customers that were previously unknowable. Using small business digital marketing tools, your company can gain access to intelligently gathered analytics that provide all sorts of important data about your customers, prospects and leads. These tools can process and analyze a large amount of data in minutes or seconds, giving your small business an edge when making crucial decisions in real time.
The fact of the matter is that most of your customers will be online these days. Even if your small business maintains a physical presence or multiple brick-and-mortar locations, your customers will demand online access to your company and its products and services. Marketing analytics using technologies like machine learning can cut through the clutter and help your company find these customers faster and provide them with greater customer service on the web and in person.
The Benefits of a Digital Transformation
- Improves productivity
- Can increase your company’s bottom line
- Allows access to large amounts of crucial data
- Supports business & employee development
- Connects & engages with customers on a deeper level
How to Get Started With Digital Transformation Initiatives
Once you’ve recognized the benefits of a digital transformation for your company, the next step is to create and implement digital transformation initiatives. During this transition, you will want to have expert guidance to help you select the right technologies for your business’ needs. Just because something is new and flashy doesn’t mean it’s right for your business.
Also, you’re encouraged to take your time and research technologies that will stick. At the rate that business technology tools change these days, small business owners often face a complete revamp of their digital stack a few times a year. This isn’t efficient, and it can be costly and time consuming. You want to ensure that you’re investing in digital tools that will boost productivity, increase profits and provide service for a long time.
Work With a Team of Experts
Digital transformation for small businesses is an important change. Working with a business and marketing consulting agency can often help in these situations since these professionals already have access to the important data about customer experiences mentioned above. Your business development and marketing team can provide insights to help you make the best decisions regarding digital transformation.
Don’t Worry About the Size of Your Company
You also shouldn’t be concerned about the size of your business when seeking solutions for a digital transformation. Businesses of all sizes can benefit from rethinking their approaches to technology, and you can also implement digital transformation strategies that include the ability to scale as your company grows. Your business development and marketing team can help you navigate these changes as your needs evolve.