17 March 2021|Business Growth, Latest Posts, Launching a business
By Daniel Cooper. Overcoming the disruption forged by big business is a constant challenge faced by small businesses. This battle is due to intensify, however, as the development and deployment of new digital innovations picks up speed and the resulting technologies in turn become accessible only to the disruptors. But investing in one of these digital solutions will not stave off a SME’s declining profits for long. The number of business technologies is expanding and it’s growth fast-tracked by the economic blows dealt by Covid-19. The small businesses that fell victim to its ill-effects can only survive them by staying up-to-date with these technologies. Surviving hardship and then expanding a business relies on seizing digital opportunities both now and as they change.
Digital transformation drives disruption; the more businesses that follow through with it, the more that will fail to survive. This doesn’t mean the rulebook is due to be scrapped, however. The 99.9% of UK businesses that are SMEs (Merchant Savvy, 2020) are not due to be overhauled in their entirety. Riding the technology wave is not about ditching trusted practices for digital solutions – it is about reinforcing tradition with tech and enhancing operations for the better.
Once we’ve proceeded to a post-Coronavirus economy, a variety of tools and technologies will be awaiting adoption. Small businesses must capitalise on these technologies if they are willing to survive – and then succeed in the future.
Implement Cloud-based Data Storage
Internet use is continuing to surge across the planet with rising numbers logging in and increasing the volume of data that needs to be collected, shared, and stored. Over three quarters of this data is managed by enterprises (Digital Nest, 2019) and this growing amount of data has recently become essential to formulating business strategy. It drives more effective marketing initiatives, it elevates customer service, and it scores a higher conversion rate. Data is now vital to securing cost-effective solutions that guarantee higher revenue.
Sourcing and sharing data is vital for business survival – storing it is just as important, however, to ensure the right data reaches the right employees. Industry-leading tech giants, such as YouTube and Google, have already built readily-adopted cloud-based storage solutions, confirming that this technology is imperative for your competition.
Data storage solutions can capture data and provide select access to it for select employees, protecting the information whilst increasing productivity. These technologies are founded on high-level security through frequent back-ups and promote collaboration for bespoke data application. It doesn’t just store but seizes the opportunity for data-driven insights. Moreover, these cloud-based technologies meet the new requirements of remote working environments and are rapidly being deployed to support it throughout the pandemic. Yet beyond the tools and beyond the technology, the cloud provides access to insights once reserved for industry leaders.
Drive Marketing Via Social Media
There are now an estimated 3.6 billion social media users across the world (Statista, 2020). Social media marketing is essential for any business no matter their size, nor their sector, to engage with their customers. And with their growing reliance on social media and the platforms’ data analytics capabilities, the data-driven insights can elevate marketing and improve customer service, too.
The real-time result and feedback for marketing initiatives are a low-cost necessity for small businesses seeking mere survival in an online world. The social media platforms the initiatives take place on also provide somewhat of a level playing field against bigger, disruptive firms. Innovative content, influencer marketing, and other social media tools can formulate a competitive advantage and be leveraged by any business.
Harnessing the powerful analytics provided by social media platforms allows SMEs to get back to what they do best: secure more conversions via personalised customer service and extend the reach of their enterprise.
Leverage Digital Marketing Analytics Tools
Disruption now relies solely on digitalisation; the adoption of technology by businesses of all sizes and sectors is showing no signs of slowing. The capabilities of analytics tools and the advantage of instant results are improving at a similar speed. Traditional marketing tactics will always be fundamental to running a successful business – digital marketing tools aren’t here to reinvent the wheel, but to turbo-charge the engine.
Slash marketing costs and curate personalised content with specific targeting, instant feedback, and accessible testing environments. The latest analytics technology is now within reach even for small businesses, guaranteeing immediate data-driven insights into digital marketing initiatives so far exclusive to industry-leading firms. In fact, over 75% of marketers report on how their marketing campaigns influence revenue via analytics (Hubspot, 2020).
Such tactics and tools are already being leveraged by disruptive forces across entire sectors. Harnessing their potential is no longer enough to overcome it – one must move beyond it, instead. Formulating a technology strategy for the entire enterprise in question can ensure it remains adaptable to the new opportunities and obstacles that lie up ahead.
Engage With Productivity Tools
All businesses are founded on productive workflows and efficient processes at a basic level. Achieving streamlined operations that slash costs and elevate revenue are a constant ambition of executives and employees, and this ambition can be secured by implementing the latest tech innovations across the entire business. This is why 55% of startups have adopted digital business strategies as opposed to 38% of traditional enterprises (IDG, 2018).
Covid-19 has forced many businesses to rethink their operations at a fundamental level – this has resulted in renewed interest in cloud-based platforms that facilitate remote working. Slack and Jira are just a couple of the most popular online tools that have recently come to the fore as a result of the surge in working from home. With easy communication and seamless collaboration afforded to employees across the globe, productivity can improve throughout the crisis.
Plus, with a vast array of advantages on offer alongside the renewed efficiency such as the prospect of an international team and lower costs thanks to flexible working, the operational efficiency can unleash the potential of untapped growth. As most SMEs frame their digital transformation against operational efficiency, implementing digitalisation is now essential to survive disruption.
Introduce New Payment Systems
All businesses require revenue in order to operate – it is the most simple and most essential principle behind running a business. Redefining how one secures that revenue is key to ensuring the cash flow continues. Web-based payment systems, such as Apple Pay and Paypal help businesses reach out to new customers and improve their accessibility to goods and services. How customers shop and spend has changed, and SMEs need to align themselves with this shift.
Digital accounting systems can integrate with these systems, too. Trim time off of accountancy and ensure your employees can refocus their attention on their other responsibilities.
An entire generation of customers have adopted these payment systems and are turning their back on physical cash. Apple Pay alone has 383 million users worldwide, and is only forecasted to convert more users to cashless spending in the future (Statista, 2020). SMEs that don’t align their operations with the decline of physical money and emerging opportunities of the online store will lose customers to those that have.
Technology has already infiltrated society and is changing the way we interact as people – it’s changing the way we make profit, too. In order to meet consumer demand disruptive forces are pivoting on rapidly-evolving digital solutions to keep up with the latest trends. Failure to stay up to speed will mean failure to survive.
Nearly 80% of executives and business leaders claim the need to innovate has never been more important (Accenture, 2020), confirming that disruptors are readily harnessing the potential for upheaval in all sectors. Smaller businesses can fall behind fast-paced digital evolution far easier than their biggest competitors.
In fact, the fast-paced level of innovation is only expected to quicken as more digital breakthroughs occur. Businesses need to ‘ride the wave’ of new technologies – that is, adopt the latest solutions to evolve with them over time – to avoid being wiped out. SMEs need to pivot their expansion on keeping pace with and moving beyond the competition, and they can only attain this by securing a competitive advantage via a digital transformation.
About the Author
Daniel Cooper is the founder and Managing Director of fast-growth digital transformation company lolly.co which streamlines businesses across the globe through the use of technology and automation. A former trader, programmer and serial entrepreneur, Daniel and his team of engineers, analysts and consultants are on a mission to help as many business owners as possible ride the wave of technology turning sluggish companies into fast-paced technology backed enterprises. From world-renowned accounting firms to London’s top-rated cosmetic clinics, the company’s consulting services extend across all business sizes, types, and industries.
Daniel’s new book ‘Upgrade’ – a guide on how to apply the techniques within the tech industry to any business, walks the reader through the inevitable tsunami of disruption heading towards each industry; it explains how to prepare for rapid change and how to become the disruptor rather than the disrupted – it’s a must read for business owners looking to drag their companies into the digital age. It will be available for sale on Amazon in March 2021.