Over the course of a few short months, the coronavirus crisis has changed how we do business forever. The pandemic has caused a profound shift to how small businesses operate, thrusting remote work and digital solutions into the limelight.
Millions of businesses were caught off guard by the pandemic, yet many were able to adapt to survive and even thrive. So, what set apart the winners from the losers? For some businesses, the shutdown provided opportunities to pivot. While for others the ability to tap into digital solutions enabled them to ride out the storm. It seems when it comes to business continuity, digital technology is key to success.
Digital tech helps businesses succeed
Even before the pandemic hit, the ABS reported that small businesses that adopted digital solutions were more successful than their analogue counterparts. While PWC’s Small Business Digital Growth Report suggested that there is an untapped $49.2 billion of economic potential that could be unleashed if businesses were to embrace digital and mobile technology.
For SMBs looking to futureproof their business, embracing digital solutions is the first step in a business continuity plan. Here’s why: Digital solutions, the NBN and mobile technology go hand-in-hand with better service, better data and better business.
Commenting on the role of tech in business continuity during a recent KBB webcast Tom Hyde, Head of Commercial Business, Docusign, says organisations that invest in technology have the advantage in safeguarding their business from disruption. However, understanding the capabilities of your existing tech is also vital.
“I think the key thing is to understand the current tech you are using – your tech stack, if you like – there are a huge number of technologies that can integrate with each other. Lots of companies have plugins that can be used, so you need to explore that. And you need to understand what you are investing for: is it the customer experience? To save time and money? The key thing is to measure what it is and how it is working for you.”
Digital solutions futureproof your business
Integrating tech solutions means a small business doesn’t need to spend a lot of time onboarding tech and can get up to speed quickly.
“You need to hone-in on what is important,” says Hyde. “Australian businesses have had it tough this year: the fires, the floods, the drought, COVID. We see cloud-based software as being key to a business continuity plan. [At DocuSign] We regularly consult and help small businesses to future proof their businesses so that they are in a position to keep moving forward.
“I think COVID and the global issues aside, some of the things we are seeing day-to-day is the evolution of customer expectations and the advent of mobile. At DocuSign it’s about replacing that face-to-face old school way of doing business with something digital.”
Indeed Hyde suggests while many business owners may have been complacent about digital technology before, the enforced business hibernation has made them realise how much they need technology to thrive.
The benefits of digital
PWC reports digital solutions can allow businesses to better understand their customers and competitors. Adopting digital innovation can be as simple as signing up for a free trial to get a taste of a program or app. This eliminates barriers to tech, so businesses should be encouraged to give digital solutions a try.
According to the Small Business Digital Growth Report, small businesses that have high levels of digital engagement (e.g. use search engine optimisation and marketing and multiple digital technologies) have better business outcomes compared to those with lower engagement, with some studies suggesting a 20 per cent increase in annual revenue.
Misconceptions around digital technology have led many small business owners to be reluctant about digital transformation, often relegating it in the too hard basket. Yet businesses looking for opportunities to grow need to embrace digital tech – and COVID-19 has really brought this home. If you want to build a more resilient business investing in digital solutions now and making use of all the tools at your disposal will help you ensure your business continues to recover during the pandemic.
This content is brought to you in partnership with DocuSign. If you’d like to find out more about how your business can adapt to the changing face of work in these challenging times sign up for our webcast series Not Business as Usual.
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