January 20, 2022

Five tips for small business to succeed with digital transformation

By Matthew Campbell - Head of SME and FTTH at SEACOM

Digitisation is absolutely essential for small businesses. It enables them to stay relevant and competitive, even in smaller markets. However, small companies often have limited budgets, so investing in digital tech may seem daunting but the benefits are significant.

Getting started with digital transformation can be easier and more cost-effective than you realise. Here are some helpful tips that small business owners can use to help with digital transformation.

Define your vision and transformation goals

Most small businesses will have a vision and goals that are clearly defined. Be sure to set realistic goals and keep in mind scalability. Small businesses can grow quickly if they are successful, so the vision and objectives need to shift in line with the company’s expansion. Successful digital transformation relies on strategy and planning.

Make time to identify strategic gaps in your business and do some research on the kinds of technology that can help you bridge these gaps and solve unique challenges. A recent Salesforce survey found that as many as 84% of customers value their experience as much as the actual products and services on offer. Small businesses need to ensure that the customer experience is simple and enjoyable; tech can help with this.

Find the right digital partner to help

Don’t worry about going it alone. Digital transformation requires expertise, so search for the right digital partner. It’s better to rely on the expertise of a trusted tech company than to dedicate time and resources to a small, stretched team.

A good digital partner should have the right industry experience and share your customer-centric vision and transformation goals. As a small company, you can’t afford costly disruptions, so your partner needs to be able to integrate new systems and platforms with your existing tech in a seamless way.

Cloud technology is the best place to start since it's easy to integrate and is very affordable. According to McKinsey, small and medium-sized businesses make up almost half of the total cloud market, indicating that many start-ups are already benefiting from going digital.

Keep an eye on your competition

Small business owners should watch their competitors closely - mainly their online activity and digital footprint. Check their social media pages and websites as these can give valuable insight into areas of their businesses that are driven by digital innovation. Learning what other services your competitors have to offer, as well as how they interact with their customers online, can help you decide where to start.

Don’t just copy your competitors, though. Only implement the tech that makes sense for your company and strategy. At the heart of this step is to simply find out why your potential customers may prefer another business over yours. It will allow you to think about new innovations that improve the customer journey and experience.

Use your agility to your advantage

Small companies have a major advantage in rapidly changing markets - it’s the ability to adapt quickly, easily and cost-efficiently. Large organisations are often held back by the size of their operations and the costs of implementing new tech on a large scale. Small businesses can identify new trends and customer expectations, then implement the right tech in no time.

Harness your agility by updating your digital strategies, rolling out the implementation and assessing any feedback. This will allow you to come up with new ideas and test them quickly in order to see what works and what doesn’t. This minimises the risk of experimentation and is more likely to result in effective digital transformation.

Don’t be afraid to keep evolving

Business owners should aim to review and revise their strategies and progress on a constant basis. The initial goals and objectives of the business are likely to change slightly as the business establishes itself. Innovations and tech are likely to shift these goals, so always be prepared to try out new platforms, solutions and business models if need be.

Digital transformation implies rapid evolution and should be seen as a journey rather than a destination. It’s a process that never really ends but always allows a small company to remain competitive and relevant. Business owners that don’t believe in digital transformation will soon be left behind. For more information or to get a quote for our various digital solutions, email us at marketing@seacom.com or leave us a message.

SEACOM owns Africa’s most extensive network of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, including subsea cables and secure internet connections. We offer a diverse range of flexible, scalable and high-quality solutions for businesses that meet world-class standards for connectivity.

SEACOM is privately owned and operated, making it agile and adaptable to the needs of the customer. This makes us the preferred ICT and internet connectivity partner for African businesses and peripheral service providers. We can guarantee high-speed, low-latency and secure internet connections to corporates and small enterprises.

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