Change is rarely received eagerly, and most times is met with procrastination and surrounded by more than an ample amount of fear and consternation. However, failure to embrace change in a dynamic business climate can lead to marketplace irrelevance. Small businesses are struggling to remake their operations to stake their place in a new competitive world where technology is altering the very fundamentals of commerce.
Digital technology is revolutionizing all aspects of business marketing, communication, distribution and the way we interact with our employees, partners and our customers. Improved productivity and organizational efficiencies are optimizing and personalizing the customer experience. Adopting new technologies and embracing change promises to provide significant competitive advantage across the whole of the small business (SMB) spectrum.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, small businesses account for 60 percent of all new jobs while 90 percent of U.S. companies employ fewer than 20 workers. By the end of 2019, businesses are expected to spend $2 trillion dollars on digital transformation projects as SMBs realize the significant gains that can be achieved by adopting the technology across the organization. Studies have found that early digital adopters enjoyed a doubling of revenue growth when compared to those competitors who adopted a wait-and-see strategy. With cloud computing, small businesses can benefit from much of the same technology that larger counterparts enjoy.
A successful digital transformation strategy requires a willingness of all organizational stakeholders to embrace the strategy that identifies a clear goal and well-defined path to achievement. It should be simple, scalable and provide easily recognizable benefits. Be careful to understand how the transformation process will impact customers. Identify which technologies will be most beneficial and realize that not all technology is one-size-fits-all. A recent study revealed that 85% of people who shop online begin a purchase on one device and finish on another. Your transition must be multi-channel, consistent across all channels, and deliver uniformly on your brand’s promise.
The process of digital transformation can be stressful and intimidating, not only to you but to all your employees. Communicating the importance and reasons for initiating the change and sharing a plan that prioritizes meaningful goals and objectives will appease much of the fear that often accompanies such an undertaking. Set reasonable benchmarks and an achievable timeline for completion. Identify key performance indicators and measure the program’s progress. Challenge original assumptions to accommodate unforeseen dynamics and ensure that existing IT infrastructure is capable of supporting the desired outcome.
Adapting and growing digitally is critical to the success of any business and can improve the experience for everyone involved with the business. SMBs that don’t adopt a digital transformation run the risk of being left behind, as competitors take advantage of the benefits of operating in an ever-expanding digital world.