As a Finance Expert and Marketing Consultant for Australian small businesses, one key strategy helped the businesses that I work with navigate their journey through the pandemic — and it’s a strategy that I am telling everyone to consider for the future of their businesses.
Transitioning from a bricks and mortar business model to a digital model can reduce costs, help with business continuity, streamline procedures and even create a direct line of communication between a business and its customers.
Obviously, a digital business model doesn’t work for all business types – you can’t build a real-life house from a computer – but there are key processes that can be digitised to help improve efficiency and reduce errors.
Here are three areas that small businesses and start-ups can bolster their business model through digitisation.
For small businesses and start-ups looking to digitise their processes, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, like Mailchimp and Zendesk can help small businesses and start-ups further build relationships with their customers by providing an all-in-one overview of the customer experience. They can manage customer communication, track customer history, and execute automated marketing campaigns to develop stable, long-term customers and income.
Small businesses and start-ups also build their brand through a personalized website and social media. Thanks to services like Wix, WordPress and SquareSpace, building a powerful, effective website is easier than ever with all the required tools all in one place.
Small businesses and start-ups don’t have the same massive marketing budgets as well-established and larger organisations, but with a small budget and some creativity, social media can provide a powerful platform to extend a small business’ brand.
While social media and CRM technology give us the opportunity to manage a businesses relationship with their customers, the importance of a strong relationship with staff cannot be overemphasized.
While it’s well-trodden ground at this point, it would be criminal to speak about the digitisation of business through the pandemic without mentioning online conferencing platforms like Zoom or Teams. The ability to digitise communications has been a game-changer for small businesses and start-ups through the pandemic.
This transition to digital communication also opens the door for our learning to move online and for small businesses and start-ups to invest in their people. All across the internet, there are incredible resources to help upskill staff and business owners.
Through digitisation, small businesses and start-ups can take more control of their finances than ever before.
Even the fundamentals are made so much simpler through digitisation. You really don’t have to go into a bank anymore, you can do all your business finance online now. Gone are the days of printing reams of paper statements and finances.
As well as traditional finance options, digitisation opens the door to alternative forms of finance, like Line Of Credit offerings from Propell or Payment on Demand from Marmalade. These options can help small businesses and start-ups capitalize on timely opportunities faster than traditional methods of finance.
Digital finance options can also revolutionize the customer journey for small businesses and start-ups with payment companies like Afterpay and ZIP Pay simplifying the payment process for consumers and opening the door for more sales.
Modern financial insights tools also offer small businesses and start-ups an industry-first understanding of holistic financial health. By understanding aspects such as cashflow and business credit score, small businesses and start-ups can recover from the pandemic faster.
As the world begins to open up again and opportunities return, there’s one key lesson that I hope Australian small businesses and start-ups remember from the chaos of the last two years; digitisation of processes and procedures is the way of the future.