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Small Business Digital Building Blocks

Small Business Digital Building Blocks

By: VentureHow Staff Writer

Updated on: May 19, 2021

Small Business Digital Building BlocksWhat are small business digital building blocks and why should entrepreneur care or do? Digital is all the rage in large corporations across the globe. The digital business transformation is foundational and fundamental. Large companies with complicated legacy business and IT landscapes are struggling to adapt to the new digital paradigm. And digitalization is not just for large companies. Small companies may be nimble enough and small enough that transformation does not require undoing years of legacy.

For a small business, the concept of digital and the small business digital building blocks are an essential consideration. Of course, there are dozens of digital business capabilities, but for small businesses, a few are foundational and paramount for success.

At a basic level, the small business digital building blocks start with defining the desired outcomes:

  • Ease of doing business for customers and suppliers.
  • A seamless experience and availability of different sales channels to provide overall 24/7 coverage.
  • Run the business with lightweight anytime anywhere tools and processes.

Of course, if you are starting a predominantly online business – a digital native business, if you will – then the level and sophistication of digital tools and techniques and the threshold of digitization will be higher. However, if you are a small business that is planning on being digital, here are a few things that are prerequisites for success.

Small Business Digital Building Blocks

Create a Great User Experience:

Great user experience is a primary digital capability.  At a basic level what it means delighting the client during their interactions and transactions and allowing them to traverse between online and offline channels seamlessly.

Let’s assume you run a restaurant. In addition to a storefront, you have a website for browsing information about your restaurant and also online ordering.  Plus you also are a part of several restaurant delivery services.

Let’s assume a customer visits the restaurant for lunch.  You offer superior service and fantastic food. Great. Now let’s image they call on the phone and make a reservation or book thru a service like OpenTable.  If the customer who made the reservation comes to your restaurant and a) you don’t have their information or b) you make them wait for another 30-minutes, that is not excellent customer experience. Plus if someone placed an order online and when they arrive to pick up the food, the delivery information was missing, and the food is not ready. That sucks!

Eliminating these hiccups and making the experience of a customer across channels is the essence of excellent customer experience. In the digital transformation parlance, this is omnichannel customer experience optimization.

Achieving this requires some cohesive planning and technology implementation where the front end (website) and online ordering services (intermediaries) connect to your core restaurant management system.

Conduct Business Online:

Today, it does not matter whether you are a brick and mortar business or native digital business. Everyone needs to sell through mobile and online channels.  It is a no-brainer to sell online if you are selling physical goods or digital goods to the world at large.   Even if you are a local small business – a plumber, a painter, a landscaper, or a dance studio – it is essential to be available online and sell online.

For example, local search is big business. Savvy small business owners use services like Yext or Boostability and others to manage their web presence across many search venues and destinations.

For any small business doing online may manifest into one or more of the following factors.

  • Being found in local search results
  • Learn about the small business via an online presence
  • Locate the physical location via maps
  • The ability for users to order online
  • If it is a service business, set up and manage appointments
  • Getting reviewed and ranked in local business directories (or national directories at a local level)

As a small business, if you can accomplish the ideas mentioned above, you will have a higher odds of success and leveraging the online paradigm to boost your small business.

Provide Support through multiple Channels:

Since the advent of the mobile smartphones and the ubiquity of the internet, how customers expect support and service have changed – a lot.

Today, whether you are a small business or large business, your support and service must span:

  • The retail outlet
  • The online presence
  • If applicable, social media like Facebook and Twitter
  • Email or autoresponders
  • Phone
  • Webchat
  • And respond to customer queries and complaints on other review channels like Yelp or business service directories such as Home Advisor and others

Reduce the friction in Business Operations:

Successful businesses need to manage operations smoothly, and digital technologies help in achieving that elusive goal.

For example, using just-in-time ordering and having visibility into the supply chain.  Using trend data from weblogs to analyze traffic patterns and predict demand curve.  Or using the same information and profile into the process in key-value streams to cash or source to supply.

As a small to medium business, you can avoid the legacy issues large firms have and also move to the cloud rather easily.

Making Employees Productive and Motivated:

As important as customer experience is, a business must also consider employees as an equally important stakeholder. Making employees productive and motivated involves several things.

  • The vision, mission, and purpose of the firm.
  • The culture and the camaraderie
  • The tools and technologies that are available. For example, standing desks to bright and ventilated spaces. From office productivity applications to collaboration tools. Transparent and readily available employee handbooks to information about benefits accessible through multiple channels.

To harness these small business digital building blocks is not easy. But doing so may give you a sustainable competitive advantage in an increasingly digital world.

 

 

 

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