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Embracing Change: Strategies for Small Businesses Adopting Digital Technology

Dan Hoffman
Dan Hoffman

Do you find nothing gets done correctly without you there? Perhaps your employees are calling and emailing you constantly just to get the answers that only you have.

Right now you're probably working 80 hours per week being a slave to the very business you began originally to create freedom for yourself. Don't you want your freedom back?

According to a new survey conducted by Clutch, a leading B2B research firm, the results suggest that potentially thousands of small businesses are negatively impacting their success, limiting their growth, and making it easier for competitors to capture and convert potential customers.

It seems, according to this report, that business owners are not making this switch for two primary reasons:

  1. The associated expense
  2. Inexperience with the available tools and strategies

Meanwhile, According to the SBA’s Office of Advocacy: “About half of all new establishments survive five years or more and about one-third survive 10 years or more." Are small businesses really letting a small investment and a false sense of fear cause their own destruction?

Related Article: Stay In the Know: How to Keep Up with Digital Marketing Trends

Before we dig into the eight steps, I'd like to address these two concerns.

1. The Associated Expense

Digital technology has been made increasingly less expensive and most platforms offer free or no-cost solutions to help your business grow. Hubspot recently came out with there free CRM tool that I think every business should be using to improve their sales process.

That is just one of many. I'd also like to point out that for whatever investments a business owner incurs upgrading their business model, if done correctly, they can expect  up to between 400  to 900 percent return on that investment after just a few months. That is why all the big businesses have made the switch to digital years ago. Why let the big businesses take your customers away from you?

2. Inexperience With the Available Tools and Technologies

Ok, I get it, you've built your business on your own know-how and hard work. You've been in complete control of everything and you've done a great job. Well if you're not at this point yet, you will be soon, it's a stage every business goes through right before real growth or complete failure happens. It's called the "plateau."

That point where you're consumed with your business's day-to-day activities. You're working way too many hours and your revenue is just staying the same. No growth is happening. You keep putting off the things you should be doing for the future of your business just to take care of the daily chores of maintaining your business.

This is when you need to pivot your business model. This is when you need to set up the processes that free up your time so you can focus on the future of your business, if there is to be one. Yes, you may have to bite the bullet and hire a professional or an expert to help you navigate the new technology. But if you ever want to have your freedom back, isn't it worth it to see your business thrive again?

"The Shift"- 8 Inexpensive Strategies That Help You Be Successful in the Digital Age

1. Tracking

This is the primary reason to go digital. Everything your business does; sales activities, document sharing, internal and external communication, marketing, advertising, all of these activities and data can be easily tracked and analyzed to find strengths and weaknesses and optimize your spending to create sustainable growth for your company. Google has some really great tools that are free and will help you track just about everything you need to know to scale your business.

2. Sales Infrastructure

Whether you are in retail or sell a service your sales process is instrumental in your business's success. Do you know your business' closing ratio of leads to sales? Do you know what activities are creating a sale? Do you know the actions and how many of each your sales team needs to be doing to get the best results?

Are you missing opportunities to create more revenue? All of these questions can be answered by implementing the right sales infrastructure. Again, I highly recommend Hubspot's free CRM tool. Don't waste a dollar on marketing until you are confident you have the sales infrastructure that will capitalize on every opportunity available.

Related Article: Do It Digital: Streamlining Small Business Processes by Tapping Technology

3. Internal and External Communications

Emails to clients, proposals, document sharing, company memos, etc. Every person in your employ should all be using the same system. Their needs to be coherency when communication is involved otherwise it leaves your business wide open to the destruction that comes from the inside out. Not to mention how it affects your image to your customers. Again, Google has a great solution for all of this and it is free or low cost.

4. Website Optimization

If you take anything away from this article please remember this one thing: "Your website is not a billboard for your company.". A website should exist for two reasons only. 1) To attract qualified visitors to your site. 2) To turn those visitors into customers. Period. If you have a website filled with images of your work, long paragraphs of text explaining why you are the best, change it. Your website should engage your visitors in a way that pushes them into your sales funnel. If your site isn't doing that efficiently, it's time to optimize it. 

5. Digital Marketing

All of your customers are online. The days of free internet marketing are gone. Facebook and Google have changed their algorithms to support paid advertising over organic posting. That's life, like you, these companies are in business to make money. But it's not all bad.

Thanks to Google and Facebook (and others) never before could businesses be so strategic with their advertising and be able to target their exact customer to maximize their ad spend. Magazine ads, newspaper ads, radio, tv, have all been replaced by digital media. This is actually great news for you because now you can target and track your customers in a way never before that allows you to actually see your return on the investment!

6. Analytics

Don't be scared of data. Learn to understand it. Once you have set up your digital business understanding the right reporting is exactly what will lead to scalable growth. 

7. Optimization

Just like your website, every area of your business should be optimized. This isn't a one time deal. Think of your business as a living breathing thing and optimization as the food and water that sustains its growth. Using the data you're now collecting look for those opportunities to get the most out of your technology, employees, marketing and revenue.

8. Integration

I've seen so many business fail simply because they tried to fit the wrong pieces of the puzzle together. Even though they understood the need for technology they just didn't know how to put it all together to make it work efficiently for their business.

They ended up with a 100 different reports, miscommunication internally and externally and lost opportunities between the sales and marketing teams. Building the right tools that are able to integrate together in a seamless process and simplify your reporting is instrumental to the success of your business in the Digital Age.

Related Article: Turn It On: Insights and Tips for Using Digital Signage at Your Business

Final Note: 

I know it seems like a daunting task to pivot your business to Digital. I know that having to get acquainted with some new technology seems challenging when you already have so much to do. I understand it may be hard to find a way to justify the investment. However, we are living in the digital age and for your company to ,not just survive it, but to thrive in it, the shift is necessary.

I promise you it is not as scary or expensive as you think it is and it will be well worth it to finally have the freedom that you set out to achieve, the freedom to grow and expand your business.

Image Credit: Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images
Dan Hoffman
Dan Hoffman
business.com Member
We are different than your average Digital Agency because our focus is always on creating revenue for our clients. We don't promise irrelevant vanity metrics such as traffic and likes, instead we build optimized campaigns that produce actual leads and revenue for your business. ******I have a Special Offer for all my Business.com Connections- We will give you a FREE Business Evaluation and Strategy that will put your company on the path towards a thriving business in the Digital Age. I'll do this at NO COST- In exchange for a testimonial and just 20 minutes of your time... I'll Show you exactly where your business needs to be upgraded to streamline your processes, improve your sales and marketing channels and start creating profits that will lead to sustainable growth. Call me personally at 779-702-4011 or I respond to every email at info@digitaldanimal.com To schedule a consultation please visit our website at www.digitaldanimal.com ****Don't forget to mention you are a Business.com connection for the FREE Evaluation and Strategy!