It shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone that business is shifting in a more digital (and mobile) direction. For many in North America, the process of ordering a cab or ordering dinner has become digitized in the last decade or so; and honestly, that only scratches the surface.
Unfortunately, not all businesses have caught up. According to one study of S&P 500 companies, nearly 80 percent of them still operate according to a physical, assets-based model where customers are simply valued for their dollars. That’s a very different model than where the business world is headed.
First, one semi-obvious note: business has long been interested in scale (as in, scaling quickly) and efficiently. Digital allows for both in ways we’ve never seen before. Consider: the U.S. highway system, which services about 300 million people, took 35 years to build. Facebook arrived at that many users in about three years.
Digital is here, and it’s not going anywhere.
So what do you need to do to take advantage of this continuing wave? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Pay attention to your website
At numerous companies, a website is “something the intern handles.” That’s a poor play in the modern era. Pay attention to it, because if nothing else, it’s your online business card. It’s how people learn about you and compare you to others. Be clear on what you offer, what the value is, and what it might cost. Show other examples of people succeeding because of working with you, be it case studies or testimonials. Don’t over-load on text or funky images. Just be clear, direct, and value-add.
Understand the ecosystem of your website
Many are run on WordPress, but not all. What’s your back-end? What can it do? What plug-ins and functions are available to do basic tasks (making a form, for example) vs. more complex tasks (integrations)? Usually this falls to a marketing team, but it should be the responsibility of the entire company to know what back-end is being used and what some possibilities therein might be.
Content management system
This is where we work. You want a system that’s easy to understand, fully secure, and has the right levels of permissions. Of those, security is usually a business’ top priority, but ease of use is another major one. If your Enterprise Content Management system doesn’t jive with how your existing employees like to work — or they can’t adopt it quickly — then it won’t be used enough to justify the expense.
Your organizational structure
This one is really hard for most companies. The unfortunate reality is that, within about 2-3 decades, many jobs will be automated out. We’re increasingly going to need less people in companies. That process can start, to an extent, right now. A digitally-thinking organization is a bit leaner and can move faster on decisions. Those physical, asset-based organizations described above? Usually there are 14 tiers between the lowest worker and the CEO. That’s a lot of bureaucracy, which jams up decision-making. (That slowed-down decision-making is why companies get “disrupted” by digitally-driven companies.) Work today should be about teams coming together quickly, collaborating, and then exiting to another task. Lumbering legacy teams don’t work as well.
If your business website gets even 200 hits a day (a low number), that’s theoretically 200 people who might become a customer, partner, or client someday. Even if you believe only 10 percent of your visitors would fall into that bucket, that’s still 20 a day — or 140/week. Most businesses would love the idea of 140 new potential clients/customers per week. That’s why you need to think about online lead generation or capture. What are you going to offer someone visiting? What info will you take from them? How will you communicate with them once you have their info? These are all steps to plot out.
We live in the most VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) business climate potentially of all-time. To succeed, it’s time to think a bit differently on how and what you do. A digitally-driven model can’t be avoided for much longer.