Posted on 01/06/2017 in Digital Transformation Series

What is and why is Digital Transformation Essential for Small Business Owners?

What is and why is Digital Transformation Essential for Small Business Owners?

According to Constellation Research, digital transformation refers to a mechanism where a company transforms and develops new business culture and models using digital technologies. For small businesses, the internet has been a significant leveller and its impact has been outstanding. The internet has put small businesses on a global competitive platform. First, this enables them to develop products and services that go beyond boundaries. Second, it stimulates the need to increase investment and application of innovative techniques in all business operations.

Despite opening up new business channels and opportunities, challenges have been inevitable as many small businesses find themselves in a much bigger, global competitive terrain. The adoption of digital transformation has also caused a shift in people’s expectations, as many are going digital for all aspects of their lives. With these challenges, many small businesses tend to shy away from digital transformation and view it as a reserve of big and established multi-billion companies. The slow pace of the adoption of digital technology is attributed to fear among many business owners about costs from business processes and the fear to lose short-term revenues.

However, these worries and arguments are short-sighted. Investment into digital transformation is imperative for types of businesses regardless of size, structure, and resource endowment. Digital technology is one of the keys to the success of a business in the current economic times. Small businesses can leverage on the opportunities and changes that come with digital transformation today or miss the incredible benefits that the change presents to businesses both large and small-scale. The main question for many current businesses is not whether to adopt and integrate new technologies into their existing business operations. Instead, for many businesses, the main challenge is how to draw maximum benefit from digital technology with minimal interruptions to their existing business operations.

So what are some of the benefits that come with digital transformation for small business owners?

1. ENCOURAGING INNOVATION

Digital transformation enables a business to develop new and innovative business models and ideas. With customer experiences, tastes, and preferences quickly changing and new products coming on the market, a business must remain at the toe of its innovation ability so as to remain relevant to its customers and avoid losing market to its competitors. Digital transformation has also increased the level of competition. To be in the game, a business has to remain innovative in its product offering and business operations so as to avoid losing market to its competitors or being wiped out of the market altogether. Digital technology brings together processes, data, and people and enables a business to maximize value for its customers and maintain a competitive edge.

2. IMPROVING PROFITABILITY

A business can use digital technology to revolutionize its business operations. From sourcing raw material, processing them into finished products, marketing and distribution among others, a business stands high chances of increasing its profit margin as a result of the benefits that the come with digital transformation. Digital technology enables a business to produce faster and efficiently, increase the quality of its output, develop a robust marketing network, and minimize costs. The aggregate benefit of all these is an improvement in the company’s profitability.

Additionally, digital technology enables a business to diversify its business operations. This allows businesses to spread their risks and at the same time add riskier forms of investments to their business portfolios without increasing their overall levels of risks. Diversification also allows a business to undertake capital preservation by investing in different avenues.

3. IMPROVING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AND SATISFACTION

The growth and survival of a business largely depends on customer experience, loyalty, satisfaction, and retention. By using digital technology, a business remains not only in touch, but also close to its customers. This way, it adequately and satisfactorily address the needs of its customers. A strong and positive customer experience translates into more sale, more customers and strong loyalty. A business should, therefore, spend a considerable amount of time and resource to identify its potential customers, the location, and needs and increase the level of interaction. Once the company has full knowledge of its customer’s behaviors and journey, it will be in a better position to create an appropriate digital program and commence the process of choosing the right technology to adequately implement the digital program.

A business is also able to access online customer management and relationship tools. This way, it collects ideas, contact information and customer behavior consumption and purchase. All these go a long way in enhancing the level of engagement between the business and its customers. Many online software allow a business to collect, interpret customer data. This can help a business raise the quality of its customer analyze, measure, and increase engagement. With evolving customer expectations, the software can also help a business gain insights its business and customer expectations. This enables a business to respond timely and appropriately.

4. EMPOWERING EMPLOYEES TO WORK SMARTER AND FASTER

Every business is always looking for ways to maximize output from its employees. Digital technology allows workers to work faster, smarter and efficiently. This is an aggregate to the company’s overall productivity. Attaining this goal requires a business to adopt innovative solutions that make it simpler for work workers to explain, communicate and information with minimal restrictions.

To achieve this, many businesses are adopting cloud connectivity which allows staff to operate at the peak of efficiency and proficiency with minimal time wastage and streamlined workflow. Cloud connectivity enables a business to streamline communication between employees and between a company and its customers, partners, suppliers, and distributors.

Digital transformation is an avenue that small business owners should strongly consider if they are to expand, increase profitability or even remain in business in the first place. Every corner of business operation is being digitized. From the real production process to marketing and distribution, communication in and outside business as means of payment, every business is going digital at least one or more aspects of its operations. This has been compounded by the increasing level of competition as businesses struggle to outdo each other, attack rival's customer territory and protect its own market share.


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This is Part One in the Seven-part Digital Transformation Series For Small Business Owners. In Part Two, we will discuss the digital transformation skills required to remain competitive from a Solopreneur point of view. Until next time, Follow us on twitter or share this page, get in touch, leave us a comment and like our Facebook page.

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