If you’re looking to start up a business this year, even if it’s in a traditional sector, you need to see it as a digital business, or you’ll be missing a trick that could potentially put you at significant disadvantage.
The new reality is that every start-up must think about how to embed technology into what it makes, how it markets what it makes, and how it services its customers.
Here’s why going digital from Day One matters so much.
You can get to where you want faster using technology to improve and remove. Every business consists of core activities that make money – and non-core activities that don’t. For most companies, things like book-keeping and admin fall into this category. Given their secondary role, it makes sense to use technology to carry them out automatically – or even do away with them completely. Scheduling emails and using auto-responders to do your marketing is one obvious example of technology running your business while you sleep.
Stand out in your market
Technology also gets you noticed. In our digital age, more so than ever before, you need to tell as many people as possible about your great products and services. Fortunately, there are more marketing channels than ever before, all created by technology.
For instance, having a search engine optimised website and using social media, remarketing and PPC advertising to drive traffic to it, is just one of many, many ways to grab the attention of your customer. Remember, in a crowded world, it isn’t your customers’ job to remember you, it’s your job to make sure they don’t forget you.
And as a digital business you will be better able to meet the needs of your customers. It’s technology that will give you the data that offers real insight into your customers. As well known internet guru Seth Godin puts it: “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers,” and you can only do that when you know what they want.
Minimal start-up investment
The power of technology can be truly transformational, and fortunately for the smaller business, the emergence of cloud-based computing has made tapping into that power not only much easier, but also highly cost-effective. The cloud’s subscription model means that upfront investment is minimal — perfect for any business, but especially start-ups — but also that there is little need for in-house technical expertise. All of that is done by the provider.
Use technology wisely when you start up and immediately you have a competitive advantage over businesses that may have more experience, but are burdened by old ways of working.
Of course, you can wait and get your business up and running before bringing technology to it. But why squander the opportunity to get ahead right from the start? By introducing technology early, you avoid the risk of ‘old-fashioned’ processes becoming established. Once they are, they can be difficult to root out.
What’s your Digital Index?
Setting up a new business is one of the most exciting things you can do. And fortunately, doing so has never been easier. Email marketing, tele-conferencing, search engine optimised websites, customer relationship marketing software, back office systems, PBX phones and VoIP technology are just a few of the many, many tools you could be using to make your business better.
However, while technology opens up a world of exciting opportunities, knowing how best to cipatalise on them isn’t always easy, even for the experienced entrepreneur, let alone if you’re just setting out.
So, to help all entrepreneurs identify how best to use technology in their business right now, we have created the Digitalization Index. It’s a great way for you to see which technologies you should be concentrating on first to get maximum leverage in your marketplace.