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Why Being Digital Is a Key to Small Business Success

If you ask the average entrepreneur or small business owner what lessons or skills they have learned and developed over the past year, there is one answer that comes up again and again: Zoom (AKA flexibility). 


Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy

President, International Council for Small Business; Chair, Department of Management, The George Washington University School of Business

There is no flexibility in the modern business world without a digital presence. The tools exist for small businesses to create an online, global platform that can grow their business with very few input resources. 

The future of small businesses is digital, and tying your business’s investment in digital presence to skills training or other educational opportunities is an innovative, cost-effective way of growing your footprint.

COVID-19 and the resulting changes to the day-to-day operations of millions of people worldwide have accelerated this shift toward digital infrastructure and technological competency. This transition to a more global and digitally connected environment provides opportunities for all small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and sustainable entrepreneurs to increase their knowledge and network through a collection of digital platforms.

Digital platforms

We believe the potential value of digital platforms and the broader expansion of technological advancement is needed by every small business in today’s market. So here are some critical basics needed by every small business. 

Two things, in particular, are vital for small businesses: the growth of the cloud and cloud-based services, and the introduction of financial services technologies.

The use of customer relationship management tools in the cloud has been a serious game-changer. This approach reduces the need to have tools in a localized place. As a result, small businesses now have more resilient and continuous operations. They can respond to unexpected challenges, including acts of God, thanks to their use of the cloud to retain and manage data.

More and more small businesses are also using mobile-friendly transaction technologies, including point-of-sale solutions that enable the use of credit and debit cards, and those that will allow remote person-to-person and person-to-business transactions. These types of fintech tools have become vital for small businesses and make it possible to participate in the exponential growth of a cashless society.

Fast followers

The effective use of technology can help small business grow their revenues sustainably, but being the first mover on technology is not always best. I recommend small businesses strive to be fast followers instead of lead innovators. It’s all right to copy what others have been able to implement successfully. Sometimes, waiting is more strategic.

The future of small businesses has been an ongoing topic. Look at how technology has already changed small businesses in just the past few years. Tech has allowed entrepreneurs to start businesses with fewer people and at a faster pace.

Small businesses are not small, but nimble. If you take this perspective, you can harness technology and fast-moving strategies to capture sales and increase market share. 

Innovation is your ally.

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