digital transformation
Blog Post

A Guide to Small Business Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation is something of a buzzword right now, but like so many trending business ideas; there is no consensus on precisely what it means.

Here’s my take; it’s really about the relationship between two things…

Digital technology provides us with immediate access, via a Smart Phone, to virtually any person, all useful knowledge, and any market we could do business in. This has fundamentally changed the way consumers expect to buy and the ways a company can create value.

Digital Transformation (DT) is the process of making changes – automating processes, using Social Media for marketing, collecting and understanding data, offering new products and services made possible because of digital technology – that enable a small business to adapt successfully to the latest, ‘digital expectations’ of consumers.

In the DT process, new opportunities for efficiencies and growth are created.

Just because digital technology is revolutionizing business, it doesn’t follow that a small business will automatically adapt Chameleon-like, to this new environment by changing the way it operates; change is dependent on someone recognizing the opportunity and taking action!

Which brings us to…

Digital Transformation Should be Proactive

Not taking action on DT is a missed opportunity and an expensive mistake.

For example:  Imagine that your company website is challenging to navigate, doesn’t appear on page one of a Google search, hasn’t much information on it that customers and prospects value, and that nothing has been done to attract people to it, by using Google AdWords, for example. Given this, it’s likely that your business would have a mediocre online presence, at best.

Now, imagine that your closest competitor’s website was the opposite of yours – appeared at the top of a Google search, etc. – How do you think the number of site-generated inquiries would match up between the two company’s?

Is it likely you would lose business to your rival because of your inferior website?

What do you think would happen to your annual revenue if your rival invested in improving customer experience by ensuring that each of their digital touch-points (email, Twitter, Facebook. LinkedIn, online ads, blog, You Tube, etc.), were extremely user-friendly and engaging?

By the way, things will get a lot worse if your rival’s management team effectively answers and executes on this question – ‘where will the most interesting digital opportunities and threats open up in our market?’ This is one of the ‘Big three’ DT strategic questions that will be explained in my next blog – look out for it!

Ignoring DT is no longer an option – small businesses are using technology to change, improve what they do and how they do it, and profiting as a result.

Good Leadership is Key to Digital Transformation

Overemphasizing the importance of leadership is impossible. In the next blog we will dig deeper into leadership and DT, in the meantime, let’s get the ball rolling with two ‘must-do’ tasks for a small business leader looking to guide employees through a successful DT.

  • Lead by example – demonstrate your commitment to change by using the new technology consistently and showing its value, and
  • Get people on-board with the changes by often explaining that starting the DT process is essential if the business is to continue to grow and prosper.

About Rob Gilfoyle

Rob Gilfoyle is President of Digital Evolution Canada (DEC).

DEC helps small and medium-sized enterprises make the most of the new ways of creating value and improving operations that digital technology provides.

 

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