Some may argue that if you work for yourself then you don’t require digital processes like the ones that bigger businesses make use of. But that is simply not true. It is possible to work with minimal digital assistance, as businesses through the centuries did, but why would you want to, especially in today’s world? Digital has the potential to make your life easier, and if it is just you or a handful of people in your business then doesn’t it make sense to use digital to help you do the work of many more? This would also then allow you to focus on the core elements of your business.
Areas in your business which may require digital processes
So do entrepreneurs, startups, small businesses and people who work for themselves require digital processes? Yes, for sure. There are a number of areas in your business where you may require digital processes. Let’s take a look at some of them. Think about what you could start implementing to improve your business.
Traditional marketing options are usually not possible for smaller budgets, but digital marketing is easily accessible and affordable for businesses of all budgets and goals. Digital marketing has truly opened up the playing field to allow all sorts of businesses to compete against one another. If you work for yourself then you don’t have to rely on just word-of-mouth business.
To start with, you can create a digital presence for your business on social media. Here are a few things to think about when it comes to business social media. You can choose to promote your products or services on one or a few social media channels. The channels you choose depend on what your business is and what your goals are. Here are five social media channels to consider using. If you’re a fashion designer, for example, then you may want to showcase some of your designs on Pinterest where people can pin your designs to their personal fashion pinboards. The advantage of social media marketing is that there is no cost to set your profile up. Once your profile is set up you can explore doing some cost-effective paid-for advertising on the different social media channels.
Another digital marketing medium you can explore as a small business is email marketing. Not all emails are spam. If you ask people to opt-in to receive communication from you (and they really do want to receive communication from you) then they are more likely to open your emails and engage with your business. Here is some email marketing advice. Don’t waste your time and money printing flyers and dropping them into random postboxes that are never opened.
Finally, Google Ads has made it easy to do cost-effective online advertising using keywords, which ensures people who are searching for businesses just like yours actually find you. Here is a beginner’s guide to Google ads, so that you can get started today.
In small businesses, time and work capacity is always a challenge. Why not digitally automate some of your business processes to free up more of your and your employee’s time? There are countless digital tools available to help your business grow. Here are some examples:
- Time tracking and management (e.g. Harvest) – stop using that hourglass
- Project and task management (e.g. Teamwork) – rip down those massive whiteboard calendars on your walls that no one looks at anymore
- Digital filing (e.g. Google Drive) – time to throw out all those filing cabinets that take up so much space
Managing the finances of a small business can be a time-consuming task, especially if you’re still trying to do it all manually in excel and printing everything. There are some great online financial management software options available for small businesses that are either free or well priced, e.g. Wave Financial. Online financial management software can help your business with tracking all your income and expenses and even automatically send professional invoices and statements via email. You can essentially operate entirely paper-free. Even your business tax can be done online now through SARS eFiling. No more waiting in long queues with reams of paperwork.
Your business may be small, but there will still be a lot of communication that needs to take place between team members and with suppliers and clients. Nowadays there isn’t even a need to have a landline telephone, as you can take things digitally by using mobile phones or setting up a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) line for your business. Customers, clients and suppliers should be able to contact your business through a number of digital communication mediums like mobile phones or VoIP, email, social media and even by filling a form in on your website.
Team members can also communicate with one another efficiently with various digital team messaging options like Skype or Slack. This also empowers employees to work from anywhere, so it’s even possible to not have to rent permanent office space for your business.
5. Buying and selling
One of the most obvious ways you can move toward streamlining your business digitally is by buying and selling online. In terms of buying, your small business can go online shopping for everything needed to run the business – from pens to toilet rolls and computer hardware to corporate gifts. Depending on what your business does, it may also be possible to purchase other items online that you use in the production or creation of your products, or even the products themselves that you perhaps import and re-sell.
In terms of selling, you can very easily sell your products and services online with an ecommerce website. What? You don’t have a website yet! The advantages of selling online are numerous. Here are five reasons your business has to start selling online.
Now you know why you require digital processes
We’ve mentioned just a few areas and examples of how entrepreneurs, startups, small businesses and people who work for themselves require digital processes. There are, in fact, many other ways you can start using digital processes to your advantage. What digital processes are you going to start implementing in your business?
If you’d like assistance with digitising your business, give us a call. We believe in digital.