As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, stringent social distancing measures and community lockdowns have enforced a new normal on the world. Because of these restrictions, businesses are suffering from decreased profits. In the face of the pandemic, companies now have to face a difficult but urgent decision: choose to go digital or shut down their operations. Wearing a mask has become a new normal for common people, and so does for small business. Now it is time to digitalize your small business and save your business from becoming extinct.
But why should you digitalize? How can switching your business to digital processes and technology help it grow during the pandemic?
Why Implement Digitalization?
Before the pandemic, experts said that as much as 40 percent of spending on technology goes to digital transformation. In 2018, as many as 89 percent of all organizations revealed they planned on switching to business strategies that prioritize digital approaches. For example, companies have developed mobile apps for real estate businesses and there are whole online marketplaces for retailers like Shopify.
Here’s why and how digital transformation can help businesses of all sizes.
Business with little to no digitalization often run into snags. For example, without cloud-based computing, you may have to rifle physically through boxes of files instead of just typing into a search bar. Or you may pay bills and loans physically rather than using online bank accounts linked to your business. With digitalization, everything from file keeping to human resource management will be easier.
People are spending lots of time online and you’ll have an easier time connecting with them if you have a digital platform. Whether that platform is a social media page or a dedicated website, it’ll be more convenient for customers to send messages and provide you with input. Likewise, you can address their issues and foster their patronage easily if you maintain constant connection with them.
Customers won’t be able to buy your products if they’re not aware your business exists in the first place. Going digital, especially leveraging social media platforms and digital marketing techniques, can help increase your online presence. People from your area and even from abroad will be able to find your business and, depending on your niche, may be able to order your products and services.
Digitalize Your Small Business
Some businesses choose to go completely digital and open online retail stores. However, this option may not be compatible with plenty of businesses. For example, if your business installs window security bars, you won’t be able to rely on purely digital processes to get the job done. But there are plenty of small ways your fledgling business can still digitalize.
Below are a few methods you can employ to streamline your small business through digital technology.
Electronic documents are easier to sort through, maintain and even locate. Unlike their paper counterparts, text documents can be replicated and sent easily. However, that doesn’t mean you immediately get rid of every paper file you have. You should scan or photograph important documents for safekeeping and filing purposes.
Don’t forget to organize electric documents as well, so you can easily find an important file. Also, use an orderly naming scheme for documents, incorporating the date and purpose of the file for easy accession.
Apps are ubiquitous in today’s smartphone age. Thanks to mobile applications, customers can easily access your products, scan through your selections and even receive notifications on sales or similar events. Although you may be intimidated by the prospect of developing an app, there are plenty of freelancers and small companies you can turn to for help in this regard.
An application is a worthwhile investment because it hits all three reasons for digitalizing listed above. It can streamline client on-boarding and sales, let you engage with your customer base and expand your reach considerably.
Social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, have evolved to become microcosms of human society. This includes thriving online business facets. Thanks to these platforms, you can easily make accounts for your businesses and get a head start in establishing an online presence. Be active on these social media platforms and reach out to your customer base. Post attractive photos and use targeted ads to further grow your small business.
Now more than ever, you need to take care of yourself and your employees. Following social distancing protocols can prevent you and customers from the contagion. One way you can continue operating your business without risking yourselves is through videoconferencing. Using software, such as Skype and Zoom, you can have company meetings and set agendas outside of emails.
You can also use the technology to continue your business, if possible. For example, fitness trainers and psychotherapists have been using videoconferencing for appointments with their clients amid lockdowns.
Digitalization is no longer an option for small businesses. It’s now essential for these businesses to survive and evolve with the times. Embracing technology now the only way to succeed and outperform the competition.