The digital economy envelops us all. The future is no longer concerned with digital disruption as it’s now our daily reality. Rapid digitization created new opportunities for businesses that had already adapted while at the same time posing risks and challenges for traditional businesses.
Those that want to stay competitive or afloat must digitize and modernize or face a slow, steady decline. Most startups generally start digitized. The established ones need updating, including SMEs (small & medium-sized enterprises) and the traditional ones. Many sme goes digital to take advantage of the sheer reach, and the size of customers reached online.
However, digital transformation cannot be accomplished by simply getting a single project or product replicating their business online. Some businesses think that these digital products as mere add-ons to their current service line instead of a chance to adjust their business models entirely.
In its early days, Netflix disrupted the movie rental industry through a rental-by-mail platform, which removed the inconveniences of the Blockbuster model. With the rise of media streaming, Netflix reinvented its core business model by transforming into a streaming video platform even started creating original content. Their willingness to shift their business model via digital products kept the company alive and made it thrive.
Here are a couple of considerations that business owners can follow to boost the chances of success in the digital sphere.
Begin with mission and business objectives. Many businesses are tempted to begin with technology: What can our product do? What features should we add? The right way is to start with the bigger picture – its mission and how a digital product will further it? What elements of the business are affected by the digital economy, and how can it be reimagined? How can digitization benefit the business model?
Go AGILE and find your MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Perfection is only acquired through a long process. Taking an iterative approach using agile development instead of a waterfall strategy will let your teams utilize user feedback while maintaining a quick development pace.
Your first (MVP) product may not be the best or final version, but it can at least measure market interest so you can adjust accordingly. Many now-famous companies can credit agile processes for their success. Nick Swinmurn, the founder of Zappos, started his company by putting photos of shoes from stores on a basic website, then purchased shoes at a physical store if someone ordered them. After confirming that online shoe sales work, he started buying inventory and made Zappos into what it is today.
Differentiate via user research and experience. Digital transformation via product development is only possible if the end result is supported by your customers, becoming a revenue source to prosper your business. A well-intentioned attempt at transformation will only be successful if the user base embraces it.
Your choice is to maintain the status quo and expose yourself to competition or adapt by digitizing your offers. Transformation is not just about developing faster software, launching a mobile application, or putting the word “innovation” to your marketing collateral. Digital transformation adjusts how your business engages with employees, partners, and ultimately your customers.
You can streamline the process and make your sme go digital using a small business loan that bundles in the industry’s top digital solutions, including Google Workspace, Xero, Financio, Payboy, Xero, and Talenox. You can get up to 18 months free subscription when you sign up for these popular and easy to use solution bundles that providers like DBS have put together to kickstart your digital journey.