By Mina Brown (Tech writer)
It's no secret that startups & small businesses are now benefiting greatly from new technology. That isn't to say, however, that all new technology will benefit all startups & small businesses. The path to digital transformation still depends on your business's needs, opportunities, and goals — and of course, no two businesses have the same of all three.
Some may consider leveraging cloud computing to spearhead the digital transformation of startups & small businesses, while others probably think that artificial intelligence and machine learning could benefit their business more. Regardless of how you go about it, there are still some tips businesses can follow to ensure successful implementation of their digital transformation.
1) On-board All Employees
A study by the SMB group entitled '2017 U.S. Small and Medium Business Digital Transformation Study' found that 27% of leaders cited their team's resistance to change as the top challenge to digital transformation. For a transformation to be successful, all employees up to the executive level have to be entirely on-board with the change. This is especially important, as our writer Jordie Black points out, because a well implemented digital transformation affects all parts of a business, from advertising and marketing, to leadership and analytics.
2) Ensure Complete Financial Readiness
Digital transformation isn't just a one-time thing — it's a continuous process that requires constant effort. Thus, financing your company's digital transformation will require strategic financial planning with the future in mind. One way to do this is by maintaining a CD Ladder. According to Marcus, this is a saving strategy where you spread a lump sum of money across multiple Certificate of Deposits with different maturity dates. This way, your business can get funding at multiple points in the future when you need it for more digital transformation strategies. While there are other financial strategies you can follow, it's important to ensure that your funds will be available for access when you need them.
3) Have Clear Goals and a Vision
BBN Times emphasizes the importance of having the vision to succeed. It must be a clear, written, all-encompassing vision that covers goals, objectives, and hopes for its outcome. This is important because deploying a digital transformation strategy for your business isn't just about adopting new technology and calling it a day. It's about a holistic journey that requires a specific vision to measure how these new digital tools are performing and having a detailed plan for execution throughout the organization.
4) Digitize at Your Own Pace
Some business owners believe that a digital transformation happens overnight — but this is not the case. Sometimes, it can take weeks or even months to fully apply any digital changes in a company. The great thing about digital applications today is that you can take small steps, starting with a single process that you can test and then go on from there. This way, employees are not overwhelmed and can learn at their own pace. This promotes maximum customization, understanding, and adaptation.
5) Consistently Evaluate and Adjust Where Necessary
A successful digital transformation implementation isn't the end of the process. As both your industry and company's needs evolve, how you address these new challenges is crucial for your long-term success. Therefore, making consistent evaluations has to be an essential part of the process. Take note of your relevant metrics, share it with your team, and take action where needed. This way, you can always remain ahead of the competition.