Market musings

Is Your SMB Ready to Survive Digital Transformation?

by Sasha Viasasha
December 9, 2017

Digital disruption continues to shake the business world, and this megatrend is only accelerating. A study from Constellation Research analyzed the rate of churn for corporations entering and exiting the S&P from 1958 to 2011. If the rate remains constant, three-quarters of enterprises on the S&P will be replaced by 2027.

What does this mean for an SMB? This upheaval will disrupt everything from supply chains to markets, displacing old ways of doing business, but also constantly creating new opportunities. It will transform political, economic and social systems, altering consumer behavior and service models. No business, from the corner grocery to local contractors and professional service providers will be immune to these changes. But it’s possible to not just survive but even thrive.

Small businesses have less infrastructure, smaller Capex outlays and are generally more agile. Navigating changing regulations, accessing capital and acquiring the right digital tools are the biggest challenges for SMBs, but while small businesses have been hard hit since the financial crisis, some have managed to grow and flourish.

What is the secret?

There is no winning formula that fits all, but some best practices can help you not only survive digital transformation, but shape a future-looking business strategy that anticipates and rides emerging trends rather than fighting them, or—even worse—ignoring them.

Build a coalition

Many small business owners started a company because they desired independence, but small businesses don’t grow alone. They prosper in a network of connections and resources. Build relationships with companies in your community and find ways to be a resource to others. Becoming useful to others is one sure way to stay relevant when the going gets tough.

Become a copycat  

Imagine there was some way you could look at hundreds of companies around the world to see what they are doing and how they are doing it. Because of the internet, you can! You can follow other companies in your industry or similar industries to get ideas, find resources and learn new methods. Follow thought leaders, listen to conversations, and you’ll be sure to pick up useful hacks for everything from budgeting to marketing.

Become data literate

How comfortable are you in dealing with data?

Data is the new oil. Understanding, securing and analyzing data can be a profitable route to new revenue, but you have to own and control your data.

The cloud can you help have better access and analysis, but sometimes its worth it to host your own server. It’s worth your time to take a class or join a community, as the importance of data is not going away.

Be a leader and a mentor

Strong leadership in the community can position your small business as an authority and help you advocate for the right policies and regulations. Mentorship will help you cultivate the right talent, and empower your employees to help you build a strong and resilient company. Don’t sit on the sidelines, as a small business your voice matters.

Find partners and affiliates

Position yourself as a partner to the companies you buy and trade with, and cultivate relationships with thought leaders and other figures who have influence over others in your network.

Digitize or die

Digital everything is part of the new mobile world. In a recent WEF report, nearly a quarter of telecom companies surveyed said that digital services, both B2B and B2C, will account for more than 25 percent of their revenues within three years.

The virtualization of phones helps companies drop their expenses, eliminate the complexity of PBX systems, and give smaller businesses access to enterprise level services such AI answering attendants and local numbers in desirable markets. A virtual phone systems can open up new markets to help your business grow.

The future is mobile

Babysitting legacy technology is a huge headache for small businesses, who need to run lean and operate remotely. Can your systems and software be mananged and operated from a smartphone? Is your customer facing infastructe easily accessed on mobile? 

A mobile business is more agile, more flexible, and more customer-oriented. The Spoke Phone app can add a mobile component to companies with desk phones and VoIP systems, but it can also transform a business into a mobile-only organization.

The vast majority of professionals already have their own personal mobile phones. You can take advantage of your existing mobile infrastructure and turn it into an advanced virtual phone system.  Calls from inside the Spoke Phone app mask the employee number and encrypt company data. Calls outside the app and all other app usage on the employee’s device are kept private. Employees get to use the phones they love and employers save a vast amount of money by reducing capital expenditures.

You won’t need an IT team to install, administer, and maintain your phone network, yet you gain all the power of an enterprise level virtual PBX system. Spoke is as easy to install and easy to use, yet powerful enough to replace your office phone system, eliminating up to 88% of your telecom costs.

Spoke gives you new capabilities to pull ahead of the competition in this new world. You can eliminate unnecessary expenses and deploy next-generation technology when you replace your old world business phone system with a low-cost app that connects you and your employees to the new world. Download a free trial to take advantage of digital transformation in telecom. 

Change your mind

Perspective is everything. The right mindset can help you see the silver lining in every cloud. Identifying the potential advantage in any situation and acting decisively to bring it about is key to not just surviving but also thriving in a changeable world.

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