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Seven Digital Transformation tips for small businesses

As a small business, start planning towards your digital transformation project.
woman working with a laptop

Digital transformation has not been a topic relegated for discussion amongst large organisations, but should be a priority amongst any sized company since as many as 76 percent of small businesses may rely on digital technology to operate efficiently. While initially, the adoption of new technology may have been ad hoc in nature, as we look towards a new hybrid workplace, this presents an opportunity for small businesses to create digital transformation strategies that will support smarter ways of working into the future.

Benefits of digital transformation for small business

Achieving your business goals while your staff is working from home is one of the most common benefits when it comes to digital transformation, but it doesn’t end there. There are many other advantages that your company can benefit from, including increased efficiency & productivity, reduced environmental footprint along with keeping pace with competitors, and a high Return on Investment (ROI).

Challenges of digital transformation

It’s worth noting that while digital transformation has been fast-tracked, you can still expect to face some challenges as a small business. It is critical to be ready to handle the resistance of some of the employees, especially if it is required to change their ways of working as well as implementing new advanced systems. Although this often happens when a business is not fully prepared for change, lacking an overall digital transformation strategy, missing internal digitisation expertise or having partners that can understand the companies’ needs and implement optimal solutions based on the budget available, is critical in this new hybrid workspace. 

Planning a digital transformation strategy for small businesses

It is fairly common amongst small businesses to struggle when it comes to drafting the digital transformation strategy and define the key aspects to make it successful. We have prepared a checklist for all small businesses that are taking the first step towards digital transformation. 

1. Assign roles and responsibilities among your staff 

We understand that creating dedicated teams to drive a digital transformation project within a small company is quite challenging. Therefore, it is critical to assign a project management role to one of the members of your team or, at least, hire an expert for the time being, so that you can make sure that all the relevant stakeholders are involved and understand the value of this transformation. In this case, not only the person responsible for IT needs to be involved, but also managers and people who are responsible for decision-making. Working in silos can hinder innovation and prevent you from shifting focus quickly, so including as many people as possible in the process will ensure your digital transformation strategy meets the needs of the whole business from the start. 

2. Identify your budget and time

One of the biggest problems small businesses can face during the digitisation journey is limited resources such as money and time. Work out what you can reasonably commit to now, and create your strategy taking all of this into consideration. 

Just keep in mind the importance of finding trustworthy partners and companies that have enough expertise to guide you through any necessary implementation, such as new systems, devices, and workflows. This will help your project go smoothly with no extra costs along the way.

3. Identify areas of your business that requires digitisation improvements

List the most pressing issues for your business. It can be the case that your staff is now working from home, and enabling them to collaborate remotely can significantly improve your daily activities. In all likelihood, you’ll have several key issues that you’re facing right now, as well as some less demanding problems. List them all and then work out what your short-, mid- and long-term priorities are.

4. Consult and inform your staff about the digital transformation changes

Digital transformation involves a major shift in the way your organisation works, making people critical to the success of your efforts. Consulting with staff should give you key information, such as staff work needs and challenges, where employees are losing the most time in their day due to poor processes or technology, and how customer experience can be improved. Not only will this help clarify your priorities further, but it will also help staff understand why digital transformation is necessary and how it will benefit them.

5. Think long term and plan for it

Digital transformation is an ongoing push to improve your business operations through new technology. So while it might be easy to only think about your current needs, if you want to get the most benefit out of your strategy, you’ll have to look towards your future as well and draft long term plans. You might need to consider looking into your growth rate and how do you expect your business to grow in the next 3 to 5 years.

6. Get expert guidance and support

While a large business may be able to engage digital transformation consultants, this isn’t feasible for every small company. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have access to guidance or support. Leveraging vendors for their expertise will not only help inform your strategy but will also identify the best providers to help achieve your goals.

7. Partner with the right technology & service partners

Finally, with all the information you’ve collected to create your strategy, it’s time to choose technology and service vendors to be part of your digital transformation journey. Find a company that understands your industry or business model and can provide insights on your type of customers. The right partner will make sure the applications, systems, or any type of technology you acquire offer you robust integrations and makes your life as well as your staff easy when it is time to start using on a daily basis.

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