For small business owners, going digital can seem like a costly decision. However, with more and more businesses and consumers taking advantage of digital technology, it can be even more costly not to go digital. All small businesses can benefit from transforming to become more digital, but it is important to remember that all companies are different – meaning their digital needs will be unique.
Fortunately, transforming your business to be digital-friendly does not have to break your back or the bank. Consider implementing some of these digital strategies over time to find what works best for your small business.
Accept Credit Card Payments
Not only have debit and credit card payments skyrocketed from $13B in 2012 to $69.5B in 2015, but businesses have seen even more growth in sales by accepting plastic. The statistics are staggering.
As more consumers move to cashless lifestyles, only 23% of people use cash regularly for point-of-sale transactions. What does that mean for small business owners? It means that the cost of updating your business to accept credit card payments is far less than the long-term cost of deciding to only accept cash.
One survey, sponsored by Intuit, found that 83% of small businesses that started to provide cashless payment options saw an increase in sales. Even better? Fifty-two percent of those businesses saw an increase of $1,000 or more in monthly revenue.
When it comes to going digital from a payment standpoint, do not just take our word for it. The proof is in the numbers!
Communicate via Text
Are you stuck leaving voicemail after voicemail to customers who never pick up? How often are potential customers answering your emails? If customers and potential leads are picking up the phone and answering your emails, you are in the minority of small business owners.
Thankfully, the age of cell phone addiction has its perks when it comes to communication for small businesses. Believe it or not, communicating with current and potential customers via text is considered the strongest method to guarantee engagement.
Approximately 99% of text messages are opened and read, with nearly 95% of texts being opened within the first 3 minutes of arrival. To paint a clearer picture, compare that level of customer engagement to the 20% email open rate and 3% email engagement rate.
Incorporating text messages into your small business’s communication strategies requires a small amount of effort (and money!) with the possibility of huge returns.
Create a Social Media Presence
Like with any successful change, a small business must crawl before it can walk. If your business is not yet on social media, start with one social media platform. What is the most popular social media website for the main demographic of your customer base?
Similar to text messages, social media communication moves fast. According to BCG, digital speed is more than five times faster than traditional business methods. Unlike large corporations, small businesses are focused on their community and its members. This involvement in their community allows small businesses to connect more quickly and strongly with customers, and social media is a great way to stay in touch and promote products or services.
A social media presence can truly be priceless for a small business. Outside of paid marketing ads, most social media platforms are absolutely free to use. Without spending a dime, social media is a step in the right direction for any modern business.
No More Paper
A business with no need for paper may not be realistic, but every step toward digital records is a step in the right direction. Communication? Make it digital – texts, emails, social media. Invoices? Send and receive digital contracts and invoices using free or affordable digital software and faxing services.
Not only does less paper make your business more modern and save trees, but it will also save you on paper-related expenses. File folders, file storage, printers, toner and ink… The list goes on! Moving your documents ‘to the cloud’ or to a private server will save both you and your customers time, effort, and money.
Find a Mentor
Just as coaching can be critical to business success, mentorship is also critical when undergoing any business transformation. Without choosing a competitor, is there another small business in a similar industry that has a website or digital presence you respect?
Most small businesses shy away from digital services because they do not know where to start, and they do not know who to ask. Another local business owner that has found digital success will have ideas, advice, and past struggles to share.
The saying, “No need to recreate the wheel,” fits perfectly with this scenario. Instead of being afraid of the unknown, ask someone with experience and success to share best practices as you try new things.
Digital transformation does not have to be one, big change.
It can also be small changes over time that lead to long-term cost savings, customer satisfaction, and business growth. Whether you manage your small business solo or have a team, think about which digital transformation will be the best for your business – and hit the ground running!