What startups can learn from digital transformation

What startups can learn from digital transformation

The whole of the business world has realized the potential of running primarily digital and more efficient operations. More specifically, organizations are adapting to and implementing modern technologies to improve their services, particularly when it comes to merging physical and digital experiences for their customers.

This happens a lot in big business, with many smaller businesses attempting to follow suit. Admittedly, it’s more difficult for small business because adopting or converting to many of the solutions can be expensive. This is where startups have a distinct advantage.

Compared to established businesses, startups can honour digital transformation practices right out of the gate. There’s no need to upgrade, change or optimize older operations. That’s why all new startups should take advantage of this opportunity. It will be necessary to thrive and remain competitive in the long run, anyway.

Gaining the advantage

Here are five things startups can learn from the digital transformation movement:

1. Learn the value and worth of your data

Digital information and content — or data — is what essentially fuels the current technological evolution. Think about it.

The digital transformation is all about taking your once-physical operations and archaic practices and converting them for use in a highly-digital landscape. This includes everything from internal operations and strategies, to forward and customer-facing programs. At the heart of it all lies data.

Start early and learn how to gather, organize, interpret and utilize the data you have at your disposal. More importantly, understand the true value and worth of what you have available. Some data is useless, nothing more than garbage, other data is incredibly valuable and can be sold to third-parties.

2. Personalize customer experiences

Once you understand the value of that data and know how to interpret it, you can start doing some truly amazing things. Building accurate predictive models, for example, is one of the best ways to plan ahead.

But you can also use customer-related data to improve your services and offerings. More specifically, you can use the information you have to create more personalized, more relevant goods. You might learn how to tweak existing products to meet their needs. You might learn about new goods to offer. Or you might learn what your rivals do and why their products or services see support.

Smaller businesses have an easier time creating personal interactions with their customers, and it always has a much bigger impact on the brand itself. Always make decisions with your customers best interests in mind and try to find a balance their wants and needs.

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3. Ingrain culture from the start

One of the challenges a lot of big organizations see with the transformation is that they have to restructure and retrain company culture. The core company values and vision should always align with what happens in the real world. This includes strategies, tools, software and services the organization provides to both their customers and employees alike.

Most startups don’t have a rigid culture established, at least not yet. There’s more flexibility for change which means it’s a great time to develop and foster culture as well.

Start by creating a unified and clear brand message, and incorporate that into everything you do and everything you adopt. Furthermore, try to bring in new hires that align with your brand’s core values. As you incorporate new technologies or solutions, consider how they might impact the culture you’re building, and how you want it to develop over time. A digital transformation can and does have a large influence on company culture, more so when the business has been in operation for a long time.

4. Don’t forget your people

It’s true of any business. As success mounts and the operation thrives, more and more people become involved. We’re talking new managers, new locations, new employees, new representatives and so forth. The population can grow to be so big it’s tough to remember everyone that’s involved. But as tough as it is, you must remember them. You must value every person that’s involved with your business and helps it thrive.

At the end of the day, people are the true drivers of a digital transformation. It is their express input that helps the systems continue working, and essentially helps the process move forward.

When choosing talents, suppliers, distributors, partners and even seasonal or temp workers, you’ll want to consider how they fit into your brand’s transformation. Look at personality first, above skills. You cannot shape their personality, but you can always train new skills.

5. Recognize the learning process

As a business grows, in addition to people, challenges will also build up in areas that never existed before. You might face local and global challenges equally, despite being a small, relatively confined operation.

To overcome the challenges, you need to learn alongside your team to figure out the best solutions. It’s not just about flexibility — it’s about having a learning policy in place that directs and encourages every team member. What solutions and tools can be used? Are there limitations to consider? Are there new opportunities that would better suit the task?

Not to mention, newer technologies have a lot of impact on laws and regulations too. You need to be ready to deal with some of these changes for systems you already have in place. We see this happen a lot in regards to the taxing of “software as a service” solutions. Understanding how these rulings apply to current operations and how they might change over the coming years is vital to achieving compliance, which also means it’s crucial to stay in business.

Digital Transformations are slow — startups don’t have that problem

Digital technologies and solutions change the face of modern business, and many brands are doing their best to keep up. Established businesses must implement and enforce a digital transformation to remain competitive, and they know it. The problem is that these transformations happen at a much slower rate, while the digital change seems to accelerate.

However, this is not something startups have to contend with, simply because they can adopt the necessary strategies and solutions from day one. By following the lessons listed here, you can ensure your operation is ready for the changing landscape.


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