Technology is accelerating at a rate that is getting harder to measure and practically impossible to predict. Artificial intelligence, IoT, cybernetics, robotics, and augmented reality are on the cusp of huge breakthroughs. Each has the potential to change all areas of our social and work life dramatically. The more we use technology, and the more it becomes embedded in our lives. As a result, critical social questions ask how technology will impact opportunity. So will we have fairness in the digital age?
This debate is about balance. Are large companies too strong? Can new ideas by small companies use digital tools to contend with aggressive and large competitors? We do see startups leveraging tech to disrupt established companies. Uber is a recent example of how a new company disrupted an established industry. For many, an optimistic view is that there are still plenty of opportunities. There is fairness in the digital age.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are in a prime position to make adjustments. They can change faster. Being a small business means decision cycles are shorter and less hampered by bureaucracy. As a result, management can more easily apply new tools. SMBs simply need to seize the opportunity. Yet, there are many SMBs struggling. Why is that?
The fact is, running a small to medium business in the digital age isn’t easy. The market is changing at a fantastic speed. Customers’ expectations are ever-increasing. Plus, there’s an astounding selection of digital tools available. So it’s easy to understand why many find it overwhelming to shift direction and operate their businesses differently.
Small companies are flexible. But if there is no planning regarding a digital strategy, then there are no mechanisms to make the company any more agile than its largest competitor. Because of this fact, we encourage thoughtful agility.
Working with purpose means assigning resources working on analyzing, documenting, and acting according to your specific business situation. This task includes listing the significant elements of your business. Use SWOT to highlight the tradeoff between stability and agility for these structures. You need to identify and act on the correct priorities which would best support a positive change.
Decisiveness drives innovation
Strategies and processes need to be monitored to remain relevant in the modern marketplace. Today, it is also the speed at which businesses commit to new operations. The main reason for highlighting this is because small businesses are more exposed to the effects of customer loss. The SMB relies on a smaller supply of customers than enterprise-level organizations. Thus, each customer becomes is a significant contributor to the success of a small business. So they must always be listening to them and responding to their needs. Especially when working through new system implementations.
Tech tools are readily available for any SMB. This trend is exactly why the decision not to invest in digital upgrades could easily leave a business behind. In the past, when companies were small, they could more easily get away with using manual processes and spreadsheets. Even for developing regions, we have reached a point when such practices limit the ability to operate at a baseline level. You are not working efficiently, and the ability to grow is limited. More importantly, it would help if you positioned yourself well to attract new business.
It’s surprising how many SMBs don’t have a clear picture of the day-to-day operations. One of the most significant advantages of technology is that it creates transparency across the organization. Customer details are no longer hidden in spreadsheets, personal devices, or stored in someone’s memory. Using such practices lead to permanent data loss whenever a server dies, or an employee leaves the business.
Modern technology produces a new level of business insight. By using analytics tools, management can uncover opportunities and make better decisions. This type of technology generates a baseline for future investment and makes ROI much easier to measure.
Take a deeper dive into how digital tech impacts revenue and growth. Invest in knowledge-gathering to make smart decisions around digital investing.
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If you’re an SMB and want to make a digital leap but not sure where to begin, our advice is to start by defining a vision of where you want to go. After that, start small with a focus on digitizing existing value streams. Reduce risk and stress by not taking on too much change at once.
We advise all newer companies to start thinking about data management. Innovations, like artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT, are poised to push SMBs forward in a big way. We can have fairness in a digital age with such technologies. However, an organization’s ability to leverage tech will heavily depend on the quality of its data. Solid data management practices are a great strategy to position your business for the future.