4 min read
Jan 20, 2021
Tech 101

What Is Digital Transformation for Small Business?

Learn the “what” and “why” of using digital technologies to create new (or modify existing) business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements.

O.M.
Olivia MontgomerySenior Content Analyst

For a small business owner, the idea of new technology and digital innovation can seem a little intimidating. But taking advantage of the digital revolution and transforming your business strategy, operations, and culture can mean longevity and success for your business.

Digital innovation is more than an online marketing campaign or engaging with customers on social media. We’ll provide a definition of digital transformation and discuss the benefits you can expect as a small business owner.

Who is this article for?

Anyone working in or leading a small business who is curious about digital transformation. 

However, a CIO of a large organization with a complex tech stack (i.e., your IT architecture is at a high level of digital maturity) will find that this article covers only the basics. For more in-depth information, check out this report: 5 Keys to a Successful Digital Transformation Process.

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What is digital transformation for small business?

Small business digital transformation is the integration of digital technology to transform all areas of your business to leverage the automation, scalability, and resilience offered by software and technology. 

For example, a landscaper could switch from pen and paper inspections, estimates, and invoicing to using a business management software designed for their industry. The software can manage scheduling, maintain customer contact information, integrate with third-party vendors for easier supply chain management, and more. (You can check out popular business and work management tools and read user reviews here.)

The changes are operational and cultural, as digital transformation is most successful when partnered with your willingness to experiment and challenge the status quo on how you’re delivering value to your customers.

Now let’s get into why small businesses benefit from digital transformation.

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Benefits of digital transformation

Making changes to business processes, adapting to new digital tools, and shifting away from traditional business strategies will be tough work. But keeping the benefits in mind will help focus and reenergize your efforts on the days it feels like too much. 

Here’s a breakdown of the main benefits to keep a light at the end of the tunnel in your digital transformation journey.

Automation

  • Automate tedious business processes, optimizing knowledge workers’ time by reducing administrative tasks.

  • Reduce errors and/or missed steps with automated process flows, especially for processes requiring the coordination of multiple departments.

  • Improve operational efficiency by reducing lag times and miscommunications when employees hand off tasks.

Scalability

  • Quickly scale up or down to adapt to changing customer demands and/or business needs with cloud technology and digital tools.

  • Hire and support remote workers so your team can have the flexibility to get work done wherever they are, and you can take advantage of a larger talent pool.

  • With software, effectively manage large amounts of historical data on sales, customer accounts, vendor accounts, and more.

Resilience 

  • Protect your sensitive data, such as financial and employee information, with cybersecurity tools.

  • Build a future-proof digital business model that has lower risk capital costs and more streams of revenue possible.

  • Scale the effectiveness of subject matter experts (SME) or employees with imperative operational knowledge by automating and standardizing highly-specialized, repetitive business processes.

Analytics

  • Collect data about operations, financials, employee performance, customer behavior, and more with software. 

  • Gain valuable insight to inform your business strategy, such as where to focus operational costs and changes and how to improve operational efficiency.

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Next steps

Now that we’ve covered the basics for what digital transformation for small businesses means, you might be ready to find the best software for your business. We can help with that! From CRM software to marketing or supply chain management software, we’ve gathered thousands of customer reviews so you can learn about how a specific product is working for small to midsize business (SMB) leaders in the real world. 

We also assist you by preparing a personalized list of the best software matches for your needs. Check it out here.

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