As companies continue to struggle through the challenges of COVID-19, following the digital transformation roadmap is as essential as ever. It goes far beyond having a sleek website; being proactive about updating your systems and everyday processes can be a lifeline when customer traffic is down, and competition remains fierce.
We’re here to help you identify what may need to change, and give you a plan that you can implement no matter the size of your business.
Why Digital Transformation is Essential During the Pandemic and Beyond
Naturally, the most critical reason to adapt to any type of change is that you want to create the best possible customer experience and increase sales.
A study from 2019 shows that brands that focus on digital transformation have 3x higher stock performance than those that do not.
A strong digital footprint is especially important nowadays, as more people than ever are working from home, and many businesses remain closed to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic.
So why is the digital transformation the key?
Think about it in terms of streamlining your processes at all levels so that the customer remains at the center of what you do.
What are the best tools to have in place so that you can stay customer-focused and not get left behind?
Start Small, Think Big
One of the first things to tackle is updating the systems most relevant to how you operate. If you still use spreadsheets and paper forms to collect customer information, write contracts, manage expenses, etc.
But why exactly?
The biggest issue is that these traditional processes are error-prone and take much more time to manage in the long-run.
|Old Method||Data-Driven Method||Perceived Drawbacks||Real Benefits|
|Paper invoices||Digital invoices||Initial expense and training||Accuracy, consistency, ease of use and reliable e-paper trail|
|Time punch (or nothing)||Timekeeping app||Initial expense and training||Increased accuracy. Easier to identify tardiness. Easier to manage sick days, holidays, PTO, call outs.|
|Mailing list||Automated email list||Impersonal. Initial training||Customizable to make relevant to customer groups. More affordable and reaches more customers.Regular contact. Introduces customers to new products, services, or promotions quickly.|
|Inventory list||Inventory management system||Initial expense and training||Accuracy, consistency, ease of use. Lower shrink rate.|
You’ll soon find that the benefits outweigh the initial investment as the expense of these apps and systems start out minimal. They simply require time and commitment to implement. That being said, many businesses fall into the trap of implementing technology for technology’s sake.
You, as an owner, want to think proactively about how to make your brand more productive through information technology, not slow it down.
Consider cloud-based applications and data management systems to help.
How to Begin
Following the digital transformation roadmap doesn’t usually mean hiring a whole new IT department to transform your restaurant, for example, into a technological powerhouse where iPads are replacing your servers. There are many easy to use mobile apps that can help with day to day processes top to bottom.
Here are just some of the types of applications and systems available, and there are many companies to choose from.
- Accounting and finance
- Payroll and time management
- Inventory management
- Sales Tracking
- Customer service ad-ons to websites
It’s essential to manage the customer-facing experience as well. Apps that implement customer relationship management (CRM) technology will help you get to know the people who choose to shop with you.
A restaurant can use these resources to create an email list to keep in contact with loyal clientele.
A nail salon can streamline bookings and follow-ups to ensure that repeat visits are more consistent.
The possibilities to promote your brand by leveraging the data gathered through CRM are endless.
The great news is that what used to be entire departments and many dollars spent can now be accomplished with as low as $10-20 a month through an app. Start small before you invest in bigger digital projects; you’ll quickly see the benefit and learn where you need to allocate dollars.
If you’ve done your research and need resources to beef up your digital systems, consider applying for a loan through Camino financial. We’re here to help ensure no business is left behind.
Lead your team through embracing change
The reality is, digital change can be scary both for you and your team.
Here are some things you can do to roll out a new app or system smoothly.
- Convey to your team that these tools have benefits to their individual workload
- Be clear about the expectations about the consistency of use.
- Identify point-people who can assist with the rollout. This may be a manager, but could also be an employee you think will take ownership and inspire others.
- Follow up, whether personally with managers or with your point people.
- Encourage your team and be vocal about how these processes have improved business.
For you, as a business owner, the challenge usually begins with the uncertainty of where to start and the daunting task of rolling out a new process. For your employees, they may fear being replaced by someone more tech-savvy or even by the systems themselves. It’s important for your team to feel that the success of the business is their success as well.
Digital Transformation Roadmap
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The current crisis has forced businesses to take stock as to what strategies are working and not working during these difficult times, and the new normal that is fast approaching. Businesses are relying less and less on foot traffic, and pretty much any business has an excellent website.
Transforming your business in the digital age is critical to your continued success.
At Camino Financial, we’re here to help. We offer resources and insights to ensure that you have what you need to manage your business correctly.
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