Do you feel that your business practices are outdated? Even if you don’t feel this way, are your employees telling you so? Your customers might also drop hints now and then that you’re lagging behind the times. We live in the digital age, and both workers and customers expect simplicity and efficiency.
It’s time for a digital transformation. Why use a standard cash register when you can use ePOS system software? Why post on social media manually when there are scheduling tools available? Transforming your business can be daunting, though. It’s difficult to know where to begin and when to stop. Here are a few tips for updating your business if you’re feeling nervous about the process:
Don’t think there’s only one right way
There is not only one right way to go digital. By all means, look at other businesses as examples for ideas to implement, tools to use, and processes to change. What you should not do is assume that there is a formula to follow and that the examples you looked at did everything the same—they didn’t. They underwent a trial and error process too, so don’t feel like you are doing something wrong if a tool you try does not work out immediately.
Digitalizing your business is about your needs and goals. A clothing retailer will need different tools than a bakery. A fitness gym will require a different approach than a restaurant. Don’t be afraid of experimentation, and focus on aspects of your business that will genuinely benefit from being done manually to leveraging technology.
Actually make your employees lives easier
Here’s something a lot of business owners need to hear: yes, digitalization should make your customers happier. Are they frustrated that they still have to pay cash? Then update your payment processor to accept methods like credit cards and digital wallets.
Make your website easier to navigate and include lots of information online so that they don’t have to contact you with questions.
Transforming your business, however, should make life easier for both you and your employees. Don’t purchase a surplus of technologies thinking that you will implement them all. Doing so necessitates learning how they work and training your employees, which can be overwhelming.
You may even convolute your operations when you have multiple software involved that boast the same capabilities. Will life be easier for any of you if you have to learn and leverage an abundance of unnecessary tools?
Automate the tedious processes
If you need an idea of where to start, begin with the processes that are the most tedious and time-consuming. For example, email marketing: are you still sending emails to your customers manually? Then you need an online tool capable of sending marketing emails, thank you notes, and updates to your customers en masse.
Consider moving your accounting online. Though necessary, accounting manually (including paying your taxes) and dealing with paperwork is dull and inefficient when there are digital tools that can streamline the entire process.
Digital accounting solutions make it easy for you to keep track of sales, tax requirements, customer habits, inventory, and more. You can amend your business strategy more effectively when you have more in-depth insight into your performance, and it frees up your time to focus on other aspects of your operations.
Learn what you need to—and lead the way
Digital literacy is imperative. Do not rely on your younger, more tech-savvy employees to learn what to do and take it from there. You need to know the technologies you decide to implement inside and out so that you can spearhead the transformation process. If you want your employees and customers to embrace these changes, then you need to demonstrate that you are excited about them, not just tolerating them as a necessary evil.
Make a flexible plan
Make a plan for transforming your business before you begin. Have a vision. Write down a refined idea of where you want to go and what you want to achieve, and find the tools that are most likely to help you do so. Survey your customers and employees for their input: what areas of the business do they think need updating? What would help you attract more traffic, both online and in-person?
Make your plan flexible, though. You want some wiggle room in case new ideas emerge or something does not pan out as anticipated. Digitally transforming your business is an ongoing process that will last as long as you are operating; it’s not a project that you will complete in a matter of weeks or months. Be patient and adaptable.