No matter the size of your business, a phrase like “digital transformation” can cause any business owner to feel a little nervous. What does it mean for your current technology systems? How much troubleshooting will be involved? And what does the phrase actually mean?
We’re breaking down digital transformation to show how it can help your small business, but first, let’s tackle the definition.
What Is Digital Transformation?
First things first: digital transformation can’t be achieved by flipping a switch. It’s a term that represents a variety of digital transitions and integrations based on a company’s goals. Ideally, the implementations made during a digital transformation will change the way your company operates and how you continue to delight your customers. A digital transformation doesn’t have to be entirely digital, either – it also marks a cultural shift for your company as you begin to embrace and experiment with new technologies.
When considering digital transformation this way, you’ll find that the definition is much more fluid than you may have previously thought, as it depends greatly on a particular company’s wants and needs.
What Digital Transformation Is Not
The myth surrounding digital transformation is that committing to a change means making all of your current tactics and systems obsolete and throwing out all of your paper processes to install complicated new software on your machines immediately.
The good news is that it’s not as scary as it seems. Digital transformation is subjective, looks different from company to company and often involves subtle, manageable changes.
For example, some companies may implement digital transformation by inputting their customer data into a CRM or by adding chat bots to their website to aid potential clients. Others may be focused on securing their online data, finding new ways to leverage cloud capabilities or expanding communication between their departments.
Here are a few quick stats on small business digital transformation worldwide:
What Should Small Businesses Know?
More and more small businesses have decided that a digital transformation would be helpful for their company. In fact, Techaisle found that only 18% of 1,600 small- to mid-sized businesses have not implemented any form of digital transformation, which means that “82% of SMBs are already on their digital transformation journey,” according to Techaisle CEO Anurag Agrawal.
As you’re looking into digital transformation, be sure to assess your company to see what your employees are already comfortable using. For example, if your company already uses a CRM, what additional capabilities can that CRM offer that will give you better insight into your customers and help your employees succeed?
To assess if your company may benefit from a digital transformation, here are a few indicators look out for:
- There’s been a consistent drop in your number of referrals or repeat business.
- Once successful promotional efforts are no longer generating strong leads.
- Your computer users and online usage have outpaced your current network.
- Your company has a good amount of customer data, but no way to store or analyze it.
- Your current customer experience is inconsistent or costing you leads.
- You have vulnerable data online and no way of securing it.
- You don’t have the internal resources to spend on things like social media, community management or reporting and analytics.
Digital solutions to the issues mentioned above can help any company grow and succeed, regardless of size.
How to Strategize Your Digital Transformation
If you believe your small business may be in need of a digital transformation, it’s important to start with a strategy that will help keep your company goals at the forefront of this change while keeping your whole team informed as it happens.
Step One: Brainstorm and Research
Start your strategy by looking inward at your own company’s objective for your digital transformation. What are you looking to gain by implementing change? Whether you’re looking to ramp up lead generation or take a few tasks of your employees’ plates for more important jobs, it’s time to get specific.
Once your company goals are clear, do some competitive research. In what ways have the other players in your industry leveled up through digital transformation? Where do you see opportunities to succeed in your current market by implementing a digital shift?
Step 2: Involve Your Team
Making technological changes that primarily affect your employees without a prior conversation can cause your team to be less than enthused about the shift. Twenty-seven percent of leaders stated that their employees’ resistance to change was a top reason why they were opposed to digital transformation, according to an SMB Group’s study.
This apprehension and resistance could have many root causes, depending on your company and its dynamic. For example, 35% of millennials are concerned that digital transformation is a coded way of saying they’ll be replaced by artificial intelligence. On the other hand, older employees may be uncomfortable with newer technologies.
No matter what, it’s important to address your employees’ concerns by discussing why and how your company will be progressing digitally — and the resources available to them as you do it. This will ensure a smoother transition during your digital shifts.
Step 3: Start Small
Digital transformation for your business doesn’t have to be expensive – and for many small businesses, that’s not an option. Before investing heavily in new software or machines, take a look at the more cost-savings way that you can implement digital shifts to streamline your organization.
For example, cloud-based storage solutions are a popular digital tool for small businesses. This helps gather and keep your important information in one place (yes, this counts as a digital transformation!) Consider solutions like DropBox or GoCanvas, which are useful and cost-effective. Also, take a look at your current systems.
Our final piece of advice on digital transformation? If you’re not sure how to start, work with someone who does. The experts at Switchfast would be happy to help you implement the digital transformations that can increase lead generation, help save you money and modernize potentially costly processes. Contact us today to get started.