What’s a small business’s most valuable asset? Every business is different, but more often than not, it’s people.
Worldwide, the pandemic forced major changes in the way many businesses interacted with their employees. First introduced so businesses could survive, the hybrid working that allowed them to keep operating is rapidly becoming a permanent feature of working life.
And it’s helped open the eyes of many small-business owners to the opportunities that the technology now available offers. Small businesses are getting more productive and cost-effective.
But what happens next? How can Australia’s small businesses leverage the digital momentum gained over the COVID-19 period to grow and evolve?
First thing you need is a plan. Work out how you can get the systems you’ve already got working better, and where the gaps in your set-up are. Tech is an excellent problem-solver but the real value comes when you use it strategically.
What should be in the plan? Again, I’d start with that most important asset: people. Good people are hard to come by, and that’s even more the case now than it was before the pandemic.
So use tech to help. Hybrid working means you can offer employees the kind of flexibility that only big companies used to be able to. And people can work for you from just about anywhere in Australia, or even overseas. With the right systems, they can be effectively trained and onboarded remotely. The right tech allows your people to connect, collaborate and get work done remotely, wherever they are. By using a platform that has video at its foundation, it’s now possible to genuinely feel part of a team of people you’ve never met in person.
Having a top-tier collaboration platform that allows teams to work together, even when they’re apart, will make your employees’ lives so much easier. Video communications have become second nature to most Australians, and having a unified communications platform that allows your teams to collaborate, socialise and engage with customers, all in one place, will boost morale and productivity.
With cloud, ongoing maintenance and updates are done by the supplier, and that helps keep security up to date too.
But what about growth? Here you need to think about that other most important group of people: customers. Your tech plan has to include customer experience and service. Customers have become more and more comfortable conducting business digitally, but their expectations have also ramped up. Poor digital experiences just don’t cut it. From that first sales call, through onboarding and into post-sales service, you need to be able to offer a seamless journey for your customers. Face-to-face customer service delivered digitally is now entirely possible, for example. And you have to offer all of this on one integrated platform.
So think about how you can find your customers, engage them and show them what you do. How can you collaborate and connect with them when you need to? They should be able to find out a lot about your products and services online, and payments should be simple.
Not all collaboration platforms are created equal. The best will let you offer conferencing, webinars, phone, and chat. Customer-facing events should be just as easy as jumping on a call with your suppliers or chatting to a colleague.
Born out of difficult circumstances, the digital transformation of small business in Australia has been a game-changer. It’s an exciting time for small businesses that embrace the opportunities that today’s tech is offering them.