Statistics show that almost half of the world’s population are active internet users. So, doing business digitally is not simply a trend, but a daily necessity. As the workspace changes from minute to minute due to constant technological progress, it becomes increasingly vital to digitise corporate data and records in the office.
Digitisation allows you to search for documents so that employees and management can exchange and find information faster. It also speeds up some business processes and leads to higher performance and improved productivity.
Here we look at how you can digitise your business process.
1) Start with your Goals
Your digitisation projects should start with your end goals in mind. Think of what you are trying to achieve and develop a plan around those goals.
What are you trying to achieve?
- Quicker internal information sharing process?
- Faster answers to customers’ questions?
It is only when you have established the business goals for a digitisation project that you can decide how you will accomplish them. First set your goals, and from there, build up your project strategy.
2) Train your Workers
Employees are your greatest asset and a key source of ideas and new ways to re-inventing your company. Therefore, consider signing up your employees for online courses and skills training to ensure that they are competent and confident in a digital environment.
This will help them understand their new role, especially when it comes to acting as the first line of defence against cyberattacks within the company. Remember, a click on the wrong link could result in an attack that may have a long term negative impact on your business.
3) Go paperless
Going paperless is another way to digitise your business process.
A simple way to save paper is to request electronic invoices or bank statements from all service providers and suppliers. You can also send electronic bills and invoices to customers.
But that is not all. Going digital also means automating vital parts of your business operations, so that little or no manual effort is needed for tasks, especially administrative tasks. For example, you can use specialised software to automate your tax payments.
The same system can also work for payment of salaries, as well as contractors and suppliers, and even getting more inventory. What’s more? You save money by spending less time approving expenses and completing accounts.
You can also use your bank to streamline payment and invoicing processes, as well as use your technology to make paper-based cash management decisions.
4) Focus your Efforts on Key Areas
Digitisation can transform any part of a company, from product or service development, to supply chain and operations, to sales and marketing.
While it’s important to get the entire organisation digitised and track progress in all areas, it doesn’t mean you have to do it all at once. As part of the digitisation strategy, identify the areas that your organisation will benefit the most from. Then focus your energies on those areas so that you can achieve full digitalisation.
Once you have everything all set up, you will need to test the system to be sure that everything is working well, before moving on to the next item on your list.
5) Remember to Secure your Data
Having easy and quick access to sufficient data on consumers, the market and your business competitors are invaluable but the information and numbers may not be worth much unless you have the skills to properly analyse them to get useful insights on consumer behaviour and market patterns.
Similarly, customers expect you to keep their data safe, but this data is also an attraction for online crooks. Security breaches can severely damage the reputation of a business, and the threat of cyberattacks keeps growing, so take advantage of the security tools and services out there as part of your digital journey.
Tips on How Your Business Can Overcome Economic Despair
Businesses need to plan for the future. Whether it’s scheduling the start of an affiliate marketing campaign or setting financial goals you’d like to meet in the future, it’s beneficial for your company to prepare for the months and years to come. Such planning is based on idealistic thinking, an idea that our world will look the same in the future. But reality can change in an instant. The recent onset of COVID-19 has shown that the way we work and live can suddenly shift; further, it’s shown that a stable global economy can be upended due to such pandemics.
In times of such economic despair, it might become a troublesome time for your business—in particular, it raises the question as to how you’ll overcome such a difficult period. Thankfully, your business can effectively do so. With a bit of planning, your business can protect itself in the midst of economic despair, overcoming struggles and making it out the other side. Here are just a few implementations your company should consider.
Support your workers.
First things first. Your company can’t survive without its employees. In the face of an economic crisis, it’s important that you take preemptive measures to protect your workers, whether protecting their salaries throughout the time of crisis, loosening office working hours to allow employees to work from home if they need to take care of their family or take up a second job, or offering mental health counseling and support services to ensure that they’re remaining healthy during the course of the crisis.
Unfortunately, if finances become tight enough, your company might have to consider letting some employees go. While no employer wants to furlough good employees, certain layoffs might be necessary to ensure your company survives economic despair. If you have no choice but to lay off some employees, consider the following:
- Really think it over and only furlough employees whose positions are not entirely essential to your business.
- Restructure work for contract workers, letting them know that you’ve appreciated their services but that you do not have the financial bandwidth to utilize their expertise at this time.
- If you are going to cut any workers, let them know as soon as possible—this will give them the opportunity to begin looking for other work as soon as possible.
There’s no way to know what’s going to come next when the economy is in shambles, but you can do your best to plan ahead. Your best bet is to take this time to begin laying the groundwork for personal projects to come. Consider taking this time to improve your company’s branding and image; update past blogs to meet search-engine-optimization (SEO) standards to increase organic traffic; create affiliate marketing content aimed at the current global situation, one that can be used to meet the needs of audiences around the world. You might not be able to effectively see what’s coming, but you can make informed decisions that keep your company in the public eye, thus attracting audiences and business.
Do what you do best.
It might be a good time to begin experimenting, trying out different marketing tactics to bring in wider audiences, but don’t begin dividing your attention too much.
Any success you’ve had thus far has likely come by your business finding its niche and its strengths—the specific part of the market where your products and services thrive, along with the content and messaging that best shares your brand ideology with the world. While you might be tempted to diversify your marketing strategy, you shouldn’t try too different of an approach.
The reason is that you want to use your money wisely. If you’ve never placed Twitter advertisements before, don’t start allocating all of your marketing funds for it—you wouldn’t suddenly do the same with traditional billboard advertising. Stick to what your company knows. And, if you feel like making a change, do it in increments to see how well it works.
- Continue marketing.
While economic despair might make you think of people tightening their wallets, this isn’t entirely true. People might be at home, but they’re spending a lot of time on social media platforms. You can effectively target these people at this time, reaching out to them with your business’s products and services to potentially garner new customers. And even if you don’t feel like carrying all of this marketing load, you can use affiliates to your advantage. A pointed affiliate marketing strategy can be a cost-effective way to increase consumer engagement with your brand, while potentially gaining long-term customers.
- Find ways to gather attention within your niche.
While you should still be marketing throughout this economically strange time, you should also be doing your research. Has your been lagging since this economic crisis hit but your competitors are thriving? Study why that might be.
Maybe they’ve been producing content that’s more aware of what’s going on, speaking directly to people affected by the ongoing crisis; perhaps they’re increasing the bandwidth of their messaging by tailoring their products and services to niches they normally wouldn’t focus on.
You should take time to reevaluate whether your company is falling behind or simply trying to stay ahead of the game. You might end up finding a personal weak spot in your business or a positive quality that can be used for sincere growth.
- Make adjustments as they come along.
As said before, we can all plan for the future, but there’s no way of knowing what will happen tomorrow. Any business owner knows this, and they know that refusing to adjust your plans is tantamount to giving up on the success of your company, employees, and clients.
Times of economic despair are sure to be stressful, that is for certain, but it doesn’t need to bring your business down with it. It’s worth taking the time to evaluate your business practices, finances, brand image, and website design—among many other things—to find where improvements can be made. With the right insight and a watchful eye, you can keep your business above the water, braving the flood that is an economic crisis.
Should Your Business Accept Bitcoin?
Since its inception, Bitcoin has built a name for itself as one of the most secure currencies. Millennials have embraced the currency in droves, and they are some of the greatest proponents of the cryptocurrency.
However, despite its popularity, there is still some hesitancy among businesses both large and small in adopting the cryptocurrency as a legitimate mode of payment. Three key reasons drive this hesitancy:
- The lack of knowledge on how to keep cryptos safe.
- The volatile nature of cryptos. If you look at the 2018 Bitcoin price chart, you will realize stability is not easy to come by.
- The confusing tax and regulatory schemes that largely depend on the location of your businesses.
While the above reasons are legitimate, it is impossible to deny that Bitcoin also carries with it a lot of advantages. To help you decide if your business should accept Bitcoin, here is an analysis of the unique features of Bitcoin that play a significant role in making Bitcoin worth considering for your business.
Bitcoin is the most prevalent cryptocurrency
After the success of Bitcoin, a myriad of startups intending to piggyback on Bitcoin’s success also came up with their cryptocurrency. Some of these cryptocurrencies gained a significant amount of success, case in point, Ethereum, but none was able to achieve the heights that Bitcoin had achieved.
As a result, Bitcoin is still the most prevalent cryptocurrency. Moreover, among all the cryptocurrencies, it is the most stable. Considering how widely used Bitcoin is, especially among millennials, it follows that if you chose to incorporate it in your business, you would attract millennials—a large consumer group that many businesses are struggling to appeal to.
Bitcoin is fast and as a result extremely beneficial in borderless transactions
Bitcoin transactions happen in an instant irrespective of location. It only takes a few minutes for someone who is on the opposite side of the world to access the cash. In contrast, it would take a couple of days to access the cash if the same person was using the bank.
If you run a huge business with offices in different parts of the world, or you sell internationally, then incorporating Bitcoin can only be of benefit.
Bitcoin eliminates unnecessary costs such as credit card fees
As long as your business accepts payments via cards, then roughly 3% of your revenues must go to these credit card companies. With Bitcoin, you get to keep more of your money because it is a decentralized mode of payment which means there is no official body demanding payment.
Moreover, as it often happens, most companies or businesses have been hit with chargeback fraud more than once. Chargeback fraud is when a customer makes purchases using a card and then requests a chargeback from the bank although they have already received the goods or services.
Again, with Bitcoin, all the transactions are recorded on a ledger which means chargeback fraud is impossible.
Bitcoin can be used in both online and offline businesses
So far, Bitcoin has seen more prevalent use in online businesses. Good examples include Overstock and NewEgg. Overstock is an online retailer largely considered as Amazon’s rival. NewEgg, on the other hand, is an online technology retailer.
With regards to offline businesses, however, the use of Bitcoin as a mode of payment is still lacking. Nevertheless, some offline businesses have made huge steps in accepting Bitcoin.
In California, PizzaForCoins—a pizza joint—allows people to buy pizza using Bitcoins. In London, Pembury Tavern Pub allows people to buy drinks using Bitcoins. In Italy, one of the largest taxi companies—Cooperativa RadioTxi—allows passengers to pay with Bitcoins.
From the above examples, it is clear that irrespective of whether your business is online or offline, you can still accept Bitcoin as a mode of payment.
The above discussion proves that it is possible for your business to accept Bitcoins. However, it is important to first weigh the pros against the cons, as well as having security tools, such as a VPN, to further secure transactions and ensure anonymity. You also need to analyze your market. For instance, if your business targets techno-savvy consumers, then accepting Bitcoin is a huge plus.
What You Need to Know Prior to Starting a Business
Starting a business can brings up a ton of emotions all at once. First off it is exciting, scary, and daunting all at the same time. Whether you are starting a simple lawn care business or technology company there are certain aspects that you need to know before pursuing your own company.
Sending Out Mass Emails
It may sound annoying but sending out mass email is important to jump starting a business. Typically the response will be very low but that is how many people build their initial clientele.
Depending on the type of business you are starting you will have to be strategic on how you are recruiting workers. If what you are doing is tech related, then the best piece of advice I can give is to go to the local university and find out when the next career fair is. I guarantee you will get more resumes than you could ever imagine. The best part is that when the summer ends you can either let them go or give them a permanent offer. In the mean time you do not have to pay them as much as someone with tons of experience.
Get a Mentor
Many people that are just starting out do not have a mentor and it truly shows. There is nothing easy about starting a business so having that person who can put things into perspective makes all the difference.
Finding an Investor
Finding an investor is no easy feat. If you are going down the venture capital route then you need to keep in mind that you will probably reach out to hundreds of them. That is just the beginning and from the time that you send the initial email, to the time you hopefully receive money could take over a year so pleas plan accordingly.
Starting a business is truly exciting but a lot of work at the same time. In the end there is no better feeling than when you are a few years into a company and look back to the struggles of starting out while knowing you actually made it.
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