One of the worst things that can happen to an entrepreneur, whether they are in the start or the golden age of their business, is a disruption. But disruption in this sense may not be what you think it is.
The mere word strikes fear into the heart of the organised CEO who has everything perfectly scheduled for his business. The word ‘disruption’ has become a dirty word, especially when combined with the word ‘digital’, as the pair indicate that business has hit a hurdle.
Loosely defined, ‘digital disruption’ is what happens when the digital world - in the form of digital business models, platforms, apps, and other digital offerings - disrupts the regular workings of a company, including its goals, both long- and short-term, its value proposition, and the way it works with customers. Photography is an excellent example: after digital cameras became widely available - in handhelds, mobiles, and computers - film cameras and developers quickly declined in use.
Digital disruption is on the surface a negative force: entrepreneurs are terrified that new innovations in digital will greatly affect the products and services their business offers, in a way that may not allow any restoration. However, one should rather see the force as a positive change and a sign that your business, its goals, and its services need to be re-evaluated.
But how can you get a piece of the digital disruption pie? You will have to rethink the way your business operates:
- Don’t assume that having a monopoly on the market makes you safe. Monitor your competition, consider how revenues can be redirected from your business, and keep a finger on the pulse of innovation to leverage your expertise.
- Put the focus of your business on the customer and his/her needs. Focus on their experience with your service and product, and find out what other services or products you can provide that will retain them and offer added value.
- Ensure you have the tools to respond to customers, queries, partners, suppliers, and everyone else as soon as possible.
- Pay closer attention to your customers: databases should be tied with detailed customer analytics and usage behaviours so you know how to serve every individual.
- Be on the lookout for potential partnerships that will provide a value-added service or product to your customers.
- Improve your employees’ skills. Even if you hold meetings via Skype, use Sharepoint so everyone can edit documents, and save everything to the cloud, it will not matter an iota if all your employees do not know how to use digital tools to their full potential.
- Update your digital tools: If you’re still using Paint for graphic design, you have a problem. Make sure you have the latest software, such as Office 365, and hardware, such as digital payment systems.
- Use digital tools to integrate your supply networks for transparency and efficiency.
If you’re unsure where to start - don’t hope your company won’t be digitally disrupted - hire a professional!
By Roane Swindon