The world is growing more wired by the minute. Surely you’ve noticed how your customers are using their smartphones. Apps are being developed and launched at an astonishing rate: the Apple iOS store reports adding more than 20,000 apps a day.
The prediction that mobile computers would take over the tech world is proving to be true. More people are using tablets and bigger smartphones to go online; the desktop computer isn’t exactly obsolete, but it’s rapidly becoming less and less relevant.
How’s that working for you?
When you run a small business change can be scary. The lightning pace of the digital world can be downright terrifying. You don’t know what new tech development is a flashy trend and what will be absolutely essential to your company’s marketing or operations. Making the wrong decisions can be expensive – and if there’s one thing entrepreneurs cannot afford to do, it’s waste money.
The level of fear you have directly impacts your ease and enthusiasm for adopting new technology. But if we want to truly connect with our customers we need to be using the technology they’re using every day, all day.
Change may not be easy, but it’s often essential. How do you prepare for and adapt to change? It’s an important question, and not one that can easily be answered, but here’s a few tips from me on how I prepare for change.
Tip 1: Understand Customer Expectations
What is your expectation when you deal with an organization online? Do you expect that in today’s world companies should be meeting certain digital standards? I know I do. Make a list of standards you expect organizations like yours should be able to meet in today’s digital world.
For example: I expect a business to have a website. I expect certain kinds of businesses, like restaurants, to have a mobile site. I expect someone I work with to be able to find my information quickly when I call.
Now take it a step further and ask your customers about their expectations. You can do this by making a few phone calls or even asking people to take a quick survey. This process can be eye opening. It will help you understand what type of experience you need to provide for your customer, an essential step that will better prepare you for making changes. Be sure to ask your customer about the digital changes they are planning in the coming year.
Tip 2: Stay Aware of Changes / TrendsTake the time to familiarize yourself with what’s happening in the digital world; examine social media, mobile computing and usability. Do not rely on your local circle of friends. They may be too much like you. You want a wider perspective. Pay attention to how people younger than you are using technology: these patterns of behavior will continue as they grow older.
You do not need to jump on a trend immediately, but you need to have it on your radar. Small businesses have known for more than a year that mobile has been growing. Now more than ever small businesses are trying to meet the demands of their mobile customers. The trick here is to be aware of the changes and trends and to start planning so you’re not the last one to arrive at the party.
Tip 3: Lead from the Front
Technology adoption internally works best when it is lead by someone in charge. Even if you’re not 100% comfortable with the digital landscape, taking the time to listen to your staff and customers shows you are open to adopting new digital tools.
One of the biggest reasons why so many small businesses keep from adapting new technology is that owners fear what they do not know or understand. You do not have to know how to fix a car in order to drive it with confidence – the same is true here. You do not have to know how to use everything your customers or your team uses, but a basic understanding will help you open up to adapting and growing.
Tip 4: You Don’t Have To Go It Alone
There’s no law that says you have to figure out every new technological tool or trend completely on your own. Make use of the many online publications aimed at small business owners that provide instruction and guidance regarding new tech tools. Attend classes, either online or in person, to come up to speed quickly. Or reach out to a company that can provide the support, guidance and help you need as you build your business in a digital world. Having the right team on your side can make all the difference. Give us a call today. We’re here to help.