If you’re like most small businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated your plans for digital transformation. Practically overnight, you had to shift work from offices to homes or from in-store to online.
In fact, the 2020 Small Business Digital Maturity Study conducted by IDC and commissioned by Cisco reveals:
- More than 70 percent of small businesses are accelerating their digital transformation because of COVID-19.
- 93 percent of these small businesses said they’re already relying more on technology during the pandemic.
- Small businesses that fully embraced digitization saw their revenue grow eight times faster than those that didn’t.
It’s clear that digitization is key to business resilience both now and in the future. But the question remains: what does digital transformation look like for a small business? And how do you go about achieving it? Let’s dig in.
7 Steps to Digital Maturity
You don’t have to be a technology guru to transform your business. These seven simple steps can take you from digital novice to digital native.
- Develop a three-year digital technology road map that aligns with your business goals.
- Prioritize the critical business processes you want to automate.
- Evaluate and invest in the right technology to fit your needs and budget.
- Upgrade your employees’ digital skills through talent acquisition and training.
- Find a technology partner to act as your IT support team.
- Keep pace with industry trends and best practices in technology.
- Start simple and choose solutions that can scale with you as you grow.
Focus on the Future
Embracing digital transformation isn’t a stopgap solution. Far from it. With the right strategy and solutions in place, you can continue to support your business long after the pandemic is over. The digital foundation you create today should include integrated tools and technologies that can simplify your efforts and position your small business for growth.
As you begin your digital transformation journey, look for solutions specifically designed for small businesses. Be sure to address your networking, security, collaboration, cloud, and internet connectivity needs. With a secure, complete solution in place, you can use tools and technology to grow your business in any environment.
Disaster-Proof your Plan
Prior to February or March of 2020, it’s pretty safe to say that most business resiliency plans only covered physical disasters. Think floods, fires, or other disasters that affected the physical workspace. If one of these events affected your business, your physical assets such as paper records and hard drives would be no more. And let’s not forget about security breaches, which can stop you in your tracks.
The pandemic has thrown a wrinkle into even the most thorough resiliency plans. Quickly having to enable remote workers and secure that work was a plot twist that few would have ever anticipated. That’s why it’s so important to create a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) to help ensure you’re prepared for any potential disruptions. The BCP should have contingencies for all of the aspects that are critical to your business operation, including your network, computers, services, and mobile devices.
Get a free BCP template in Beyond Survival: A Guide to Small Business Resiliency.
Get the Support You Need
We know it can be difficult to stay up to date with technology trends and opportunities. Fortunately, there’s a wealth of knowledge resources out there to help you. LinkedIn Learning offers free courses to help you navigate the latest digital business tools. And be sure to visit the Cisco Small Business Resource Center to connect with other small business owners and experts around the world to see how they’re leveraging digital solutions to build their resilience.
We’re ready to connect you to simple, secure, and scalable solutions that support and accelerate your digital transformation. Start by reading the 2020 Small Business Digital Maturity Study, then let us know how we can help.
This blog was originally written by Erin Hatfield for Cisco Blogs.