If your business was doing well before the pandemic but then took a hit due to the lockdowns and never seemed to recover, then that business needs a drastic overhaul. There is no excuse not to digitize your business and get it online. There is no excuse not to offer the new business norms of remote working and increased digital services for your customers. The pandemic caused a massive shift in the way that businesses operate and in customer expectations. If you were holding off on making these changes until you could better manage the cost, or worse, were hoping everything would go back to normal, then stop. Your business needs a massive overhaul, and that overhaul must start today.
Businesses die because they do not innovate. Do not allow your business to die; instead, use this guide full of tips and suggestions and migrate your business more fully online – both front and back ends.
Why Is It Important to Reconsider Your Business’s Digitization Now?
The Internet has been around since the 1980s. The first eCommerce company to sell items online began way back in 1992. There is no excuse for modern businesses not to have a fully digital business model that allows customers and clients to explore their product range online or see their services.
This is how you increase your business, both in-store and online. Yes, it takes more work to manage an online store and presence alongside your brick-and-mortar location, but that extra work is worthwhile.
At this point, even luxury brands and services have thriving digital presences because people are simply so used to having all the information that they need right at their fingerprints. If you don’t have that, then you are not meeting the expectations of your customers, much less exceeding them.
The issue extends to your employees as well. Remote working became the norm during the pandemic, and people realized that they could get chores done, spend time with their pets or their partner, and generally can relax at home while they are on the clock. Report after report shows that employees were more productive working this way as well, with fewer distractions and greater comfort.
There is no “getting back to normal”. There is a new normal, and that new normal features either a fully remote workforce or a flexible workforce that comes into the office one or two days out of the week and works at home the rest of the time.
This is going to completely change the very structure of cities and of the way people live. In many ways, it is for the better. You cannot ignore this change; otherwise, your employees may get fed up quickly and leave for a flexible working option that allows them the lifestyle they want.
You can get better work out of your employees if you offer this flexible working environment, but only if you can properly manage a team digitally. The same goes for customers and clients.
How Can You Personally Prepare to Manage this New Digital Business Model?
One of the most important concepts to keep in mind is that it will never just be the tools that make a difference in how well you can adapt. Navigating this new business model is not easy, but there are ways to learn. An online MBA business analytics degree can help improve your overall ability to lead and can also help you improve your business as a whole in this new digital environment.
You will learn how to acquire, select, and analyze data in ways that allow you to make better decisions that impact organizational development, finance, and marketing. Using data to improve your business or your leadership is one of the key skills that you will need when it comes to migrating and digitizing your business successfully.
When it comes to the MBA, you will want to ensure that the course is 100% online, is accredited, and does look to the future for tomorrow’s workplace and not just today’s.
How You Can Migrate Your Business Online
Having great leadership skills and knowing how to use data to make better business decisions is going to help you with all of these steps. Some you should have already completed. If it has been a while, however, then audit your attempt and work on improving any issues that you find.
1. Have a Website and Social Media Profiles
A website and social media profiles are rather standard for every single business. You don’t need to have every social media account, but you should have a few. You also need a website that acts as your home base online.
One thing that many businesses that don’t have a very digital-first approach do, however, is let their website and social media profiles go inactive. If this sounds like you, then go through and audit both. Your website, in particular, will likely need to be revamped and the information updated, so go all in and get an SEO audit and work with both a content team and web designers to create a winning website that attracts the right attention and draws visitors in.
As for your social media, aim to remove old, outdated posts, especially if they are no longer in line with today’s vernacular. Most businesses shouldn’t have an issue with what they have posted in the past, in which case it is time to reinvest interest in your digital marketing strategy.
Everyone is online, and there are many interesting ways to show your skills, what you can do, and your professionalism with a smart digital marketing strategy. This is particularly useful if you sell a product or even offer a service that has a visual element to it (for example, you are a construction company, and the final result is a new home).
Don’t just think about what is on your own pages, either. Get posts published, set up interviews and press releases with news media, and collaborate. You can even enter in competitions and nominate your company for an award.
There are many different ways that you can get your name out there. Doing so is great for your SEO and also for your PR efforts.
2. Sell Your Products and Services Online
The second step of digitization is to sell your products or services online. If you set it up once, then it is time to give it an audit and a clean-up. You want to make sure that all the information is accurate and rewritten for SEO. You will also want to add new, better photos to better appeal to customers.
Pay particular attention to the experience of shopping or booking online. You want the entire thing to be very straightforward and easy to understand. You also want to erase any hiccups or issues.
3. Offer a Customer Portal Online
Customers should be able to create an account on your website. They should also have a portal that allows them to see their orders, updates on their orders, and more. This level of service is even available for services. Simply upgrading the tools you and your team use can make it easy to update your clients on where you are at in the job where they can monitor it all in real-time.
This cuts down on customer calls and improves the overall satisfaction of customers as a whole. If they can see exactly where their orders are, when the order is on its way to them, and if they can see the status of the service that they have offered, they are far more likely to be patient because they have an accurate timeline right at their fingertips.
4. Manage Bookings, Orders, and More Online
With so many tools, customers should be able to amend bookings, cancel, and make appointments online without hassle. If you can, try to integrate these tools directly on your website for the cleanest, most professional experience.
5. Manage Your Team Online
The final way that businesses can digitize today is the office. The pandemic has shifted the way that people work and has now brought about a new management model that business managers and owners must adhere to. Offering flexible or fully remote working opportunities is a great way to get great work out of your employees, and often for less. You can downsize your office size easily and save big on the rent as a result. You can also offer a must-have benefit at no extra cost.
To efficiently manage a remote team, however, you need the right tools and need to learn how to manage them properly. There are many tools out there that allow you to easily monitor what your employees are doing and how far along they are with their latest tasks.
Shifting to a task-completing management model is another great idea. At the end of the day, unless there is a time constraint and specific deadline, requiring X amount of work per day should be X number of tasks. If your employee doesn’t do them during normal work hours but does get them all done before the next workday, then let them. You want results, not needless scrolling, so shift your management style to better suit this new remote work reality.
Tools That Will Help You With Digitizing Your Business Model
When it comes to digitizing your business model, there are a few tools that will make a massive difference.
Automation reduces the unnecessary admin work on your employees. It means that many tasks will automatically be completed once certain parameters are met. It does take time to set up a comprehensive automation system since you will need to input the If This, Then That rules for the programs to follow, but once you do, it will be so worthwhile.
For example, if you want a new order of products to be ordered once your stock inventory drops below a certain amount, all you need is to set that rule up. Once it is set up (and if your inventory and invoicing programs can talk to one another), you can set up automatic ordering with ease.
Personalization does use automation. Instead of working to improve your business operations, personalization works to improve the level of customer service that you offer. You can set it up so that every time an order passes through the next stage (whether it is processed, given to the courier, is on its way, is at the nearest sorting up, or is out for delivery), your customer gets a notification where they are most comfortable.
You can also set up personalized email newsletters that offer information, product recommendations, or discounts based on their own information.
There are many tools that offer this personalization. Just aim to put privacy at the forefront and give your customers the ability to customize how much personalization you offer so that they stay in charge of their data and security.
When it comes to managing a remote team, you need to be able to stay up to date with where they are with their tasks without interrupting them. The good news is that there are many remote team management tools that allow the team to easily update the system with what they are doing and how far they are through the tasks they have been given for the day. There are a variety of systems, but they all work to make it easy to monitor the progress of your remote team.
You should be able to see and write notes on any written work they are doing directly through the system. Collaboration is a huge part of remote work, and a system that allows you to neatly and easily do this in real-time is going to save time, energy, and sanity. Sending proofs over back and forth via email is a very redundant way to do it. You need a streamlined approach instead.
As soon as your business touched the Internet, it needed a robust security system. Cybercrime has never been higher, and it will only increase as more businesses transition online. You need improved security systems, and you need to teach your employees how to stay safe themselves (especially as they will be using their own Internet). Security is #1 for the sake of your business and for the sake of your employees and customers.