Five tips for small businesses navigating digital transformation

Whether we like it or not, the digital transformation is here, by the end of last year 35 per cent of Australian eCommerce purchases were made on mobile devices*, and 55 per cent of B2B buyers now search for brand information on social media**. The rapidly changing digital landscape – and customer expectations surrounding digital proficiency and service – cannot be ignored. Australian businesses must jump on the digital bandwagon or be left behind.

Here are our five tips for staying at the head of the game:

1. Embrace change

Don’t be daunted by organisational change. One of the things going for SME, over larger organisations, is the fact that they’re dynamic. A good digital transformation strategy requires a degree of trial and error. The ability to move quickly to respond to your customers. In fact, research shows that 40.8 per cent of SMEs cite their size as an advantage over larger companies that are less able take advantage of digital innovation in a timely way.

2. Identify a small number of carefully defined tasks and targets

The digital switch isn’t a sprint, it’s a journey and can take years to fully implement. Leaders can start with three simple questions:

  • Where are we currently?
  • Where do we want to get to?
  • How are we going to get there?

Once you have answered these questions, from here, the most important thing is to get moving quickly and start learning.

3. Seek advice

As a leader, become proactive: keep abreast of emerging trends and understand them not only from a technical standpoint, but how they could affect your business. There are some great short courses out there delivering digital know-how, and just half a day’s investment can be the difference between 10 and 30 per cent online growth. Choose a management training course that focuses specifically on the ways that emerging technologies affect small businesses. This is will help you to make informed decisions and transition your thoughts into strategic action.

4. Lead from the top

I truly believe in investing in, and trusting my team. Getting people who can lead the charge and use their strengths and experience is paramount to any small business’s success – but like any business decision, the response to the digital disruption needs to start with those in charge. The boss can no longer just “talk the talk”, they must reassure their staff with knowledge of the process and embrace the change openly.

5. Choose the right path for your business

For companies that are not too experienced in the digital realm, the next step is to know where to turn for help. Whether you’re considering independent advice or a hands-on digital agency to build websites, apps, e-commerce platforms etc., it’s essential you know your needs, provide concrete KPIs and research their track record.

* http://www.pfsweb.com/blog/2016-australia-ecommerce-market/

** http://www.the-future-of-commerce.com/2014/12/05/new-report-b2b-buyers-are-consumers-too/

Michael Patishman, CEO, BizTech Enterprise Solutions

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