Digital transformation of SMEs: an easier path to travel than you think

Digital SMEs grow revenue and profits up to twice as fast as their offline counterparts.

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Brand Renegades

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June
27, 2021

5 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Paying for a coffee through an app on your cell phone or buying a product through a tablet in department stores is already common in big cities. However, most small and medium-sized businesses , which are the engine and backbone of the local economy, still have a way to go to migrate to being fully online. Many small and medium-sized businesses ( SMEs ) have the impression that digital transformation is out of their budget, but they are likely going through some method of digital transformation without even realizing it. This comes in a wide variety of actions and forms, from adding chat buttons to your website, to perfecting digital content management strategies. According to a study by Google and KPMG, digital SMEs grow revenue and profits up to twice as fast as their offline counterparts. Induction of digital platforms enables them to discover new market opportunities, driving overall growth. This is not only reflected in the profits of the business, but they also employ up to five times more people compared to those who are offline. However, SMEs are going through a level of technological maturity in different stages and speeds, from family stores with products without barcodes, to those more tech-savvy companies that use data to optimize their logistics or inventory. And we also find those businesses that have adopted basic technology in the cloud, but still do not take advantage of the data it provides, which would help them increase their profits. That said, today, no matter what the size of the company, its location or its line of business, technology is an ally for the success of all companies . Here are some recommendations to cross the digital divide that will allow SMEs to have a global reach. First, it is key to consider the business need. Each digital transformation strategy looks different, because each company experiences unique needs and pursues its own goals. Therefore, the foundation of any solid transformation is the complete documentation of the company’s needs. Modeling the business process up front allows you to prioritize specific concerns and question which tasks are slowing down delivery times. For example, defining what activities are time-consuming and can be automated, or what data should be accessible to improve customer experiences. SMEs are going through a level of technological maturity in different stages and speeds / Image: Depositphotos.com On the other hand, having a digital presence is a non-negotiable to be competitive. A website is not enough, it must be optimized to meet the needs of both business and consumers. This must take into account the end customers to be able to introduce them into the sales funnel in an efficient way. They also need to make sure their website is mobile-friendly as there are over 3 billion users with smart mobile devices. Another important recommendation for SMEs is that they take advantage of data to anticipate their business strategies. The digital age is based on data that all types of companies can analyze, regardless of their size. This allows them to study user behavior and make better decisions. The user’s previous interactions is information that can be analyzed to know how a user would react in a particular situation, so that the company can anticipate these behaviors. Finally, digitization is something that must be seen at the integral level of the business. Users are not platform specific, rather they are looking for an integrated experience when interacting with the business either online or physically. This requires companies to have an omnichannel presence to promote their products and services and reach their audience. Having a strategy that digitizes all areas of the business will also facilitate operations. I would like to close by minimizing the fear of the word “transformation” in small and medium-sized businesses. Thinking about a change can generate concern, but this transformation does not have to happen suddenly. It is possible to start small, but the important thing is to be constant in order to reach the goal with force, prioritizing business needs and dividing the strategy into phases. For this, it is possible to rely on tools that already exist and are free, such as Google for SMEs , which offer a guide to integrate tools at a recommended rate. Digital transformation is a path that all SMEs must begin to follow in order to keep up with their consumers, so it is better to start earlier, even with a small step.

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3 Ways to Harness the Massive Power of Ecommerce

Even as the pandemic slows down, ecommerce continues to flourish. If you haven’t taken advantage of it yet, it’s time to start.

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July
19, 2021

3 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Ecommerce is the next great frontier in business. Many entrepreneurs are still having trouble figuring out how to provide in-demand products and services effectively via the internet though. That means you have an amazing opportunity to capitalize on it if you can affect change before everybody else.So how can you get out ahead and deliver in a way that ensures you grow and command respect in the market? Here are three ways to make it happen. 1. Look for emerging markets and trendsAs things change, people change their preferences and start to buy different things. Sometimes those shifts are just little blips that don’t last. But other times, if you dig into it a little and watch it over time, you can see that the blip isn’t a blip at all — it’s a mountain that’s steadily getting bigger and bigger. Those are the opportunities that are staring you in the face, and if you can grab them amidst the chaos, then you’re already ahead of the game. The second half is putting together your team and creating a realistic plan to start delivering those new things people want.Related: Businesses Can Seize Online Growth by Pivoting Towards New Shopper Behaviors2. Pinpoint where wants have become needsChange can turn things we only want into things we truly need. Take Zoom, for instance. In 2019, Zoom was simply a nice feature that businesses or individuals could use if they felt like it. In 2020, though, Zoom suddenly became the best way for people to interact with friends, employers and peers they needed to talk to. The “nice feature” now was a must.If you can proactively identify an area where a “want” is shifting to a “need” throughout your trend research, you can potentially have a major influence on whatever changes are happening and make a lot of money. You could already be in the right place at the right time — maybe your industry is becoming a need. But you can also capitalize on the potential by figuring out needs that are overlooked or unaddressed. If you started a toilet-paper company in late 2019, for example, then you get the idea.3. The future of ecommerce is yours to directFor years, people have been recognizing the variety and convenience ecommerce offers. Now, even more understand the benefits of this business model. They’re not likely to forget how easy it is to shop online — and undoubtedly many will continue to do this if for no other reason than to stay safe at home.Related: Why You Should Start (or Buy) a Fulfillment by Amazon Business in 2021The future of ecommerce is bright, and online shopping will become an even bigger part of our economy. Be proactive and identify where you can serve people based on their new preferences and needs as soon as possible because the chance to have enormous sway in the digital world is right in front of you. You only have to take it before someone else does.

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This Is How Ecommerce Can Help You Build Real Wealth

Diversifying your income is beneficial for several reasons, and it’s not as difficult as you might think.

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Brand Renegades

Discover how two entrepreneurs used unconventional business strategies to turn their startup into a multimillion-dollar company.

July
20, 2021

4 min read

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Most financial pros tell you not to put all your eggs in one basket. In other words, you need to diversify your investment portfolio. This way, if one investment crashes and burns, you still have enough under you to keep standing. When you establish more than one income stream, you’re doing the same thing. By diversifying what can generate money for you, you turn a roaring fire of risk into a matchstick and have insurance for your personal economy. Diversification with income is a strength. Achieving it, though, goes hand in hand with identifying emerging trends, markets and technologies that might be in demand and profitable over the long haul. There’s no shortage of niches here, but as people get more and more comfortable with digital business, ecommerce is an increasingly attractive and smart way to build the multiple income streams you need for real wealth.Related: How to Create Multiple Streams of Income from HomeThe benefits of going digitalToday’s internet and ecommerce systems are naturally incredibly adaptive and reactive. You can get information and make informed decisions at lightning speed. That makes it easier to manage risks and serve your customers well so that they keep coming back. Digital storefronts also let you bring in income without many of the excessive overhead costs or fees that traditional stores have. Depending on what you offer, you might be able to meet the needs of your customers from anywhere, and you can reach people who are well outside of your geographical region.Building your own optionsAs with a regular store, creating an ecommerce business that can serve as an income stream starts with just figuring out which products or services to sell. One mistake to avoid here is not relying as heavily on market research as you would with brick and mortar. Online doesn’t mean “not serious” or “light,” and you’ve still got to evaluate your idea, create a full business plan and follow legal procedures — such as registering your business name.As you think about your options for different ecommerce ventures, remember that in times of difficulty, people care about the basics. They don’t do a lot of frivolous spending; instead, they try to make their dollar stretch the furthest for items they know their family will need and use. Wants can become needs under the right circumstances, but try to think about what people really can’t do without. Be able to identify exactly how your product or service helps.Lastly, don’t think you have to do all of the heavy lifting on your own. There are plenty of turnkey systems out there now that allow entrepreneurs of every stripe to complete jobs without starting from scratch. You don’t need to know how to code to launch a website anymore, for example, and you can connect all kinds of systems together too. Be clear about your vision and what you want people to be able to achieve or see in each online store. That will let you pick the right systems and link them in a way that really works for you and your buyers.Related: 4 Ways an Entrepreneur Should Diversify Their IncomeThe economy of today tells you a lot about the economy of tomorrow. Right now, with inflation looming (or, in some cases, even booming), people who are on fixed incomes have a greater need than ever to set themselves up to thrive in the future. Multiple income streams can help you do that, and ecommerce is an especially promising environment in which to sell. Take advantage of the benefits of digital and build your own online stores to enjoy the stability, empowerment and freedom you want.

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