As business increasingly moves into the digital space, the way business is done transforms as well. With the rapid pace of technology and software development, online business transforms right alongside it, and as a result the pace of change in business is also accelerating.
This is a great thing because the opportunity for growth is constantly increasing. However, so does the possibility of being left behind.
Startups and small businesses will need to become increasingly adaptable. They'll need to be engaged in continuous digital transformation and online growth activities to drive their competitive advantages.
Reducing information and data silos, having reliable analytics, defining vital KPIs, improving information security, and providing consistent and better content for customers are just a few of the important ways companies can be prepared to meet the changing demands of their target market.
Here’s what to focus on during the remainder of 2021 to ensure you not only keep up with the constant change, but also use it as an advantage to thrive as well.
Leverage the Growing Gig Economy:
By now, you’ve certainly heard of the growing gig economy. In 2018, freelancers and specialty agencies worked about 1 billion hours and contributed $1.28 trillion to the economy. According to Forbes, the gig economy is expanding three times faster than the traditional job economy.
This is happening for a few reasons. First, it's easier than ever for businesses to leverage outside expertise and talent. The gig economy is more affordable for many businesses and the lack of overhead makes freelancers and specialty agencies an attractive option to employers.
To keep up— Look at your existing business operations and find out where freelancers and specialty agencies can pick up the slack. The gig economy could save your budding business money and time since a specialist can complete your projects faster and with more expertise than your employees can manage. Also, if you hire traditional employees, be prepared to compete with the gig economy by offering flexible hours and/or telecommuting and generous benefits. In a tight labor market, leveraging outside can save you money and provide faster results.
You can receive guidance in identifying experts and specialty agencies in the gig economy by using ShapeConnect’s B2B Services Matching Platform. Our Business Advisors and platform tools will help you scope your needs and then match you with the right partner vendor to achieve your business goals. We have vetted experts and agencies in the areas of accounting, digital marketing, website design, HR, IT, operations, and more.
Cultivate Deeper and More Online Connections:
Marketers have been throwing around the buzzword authenticity for a few years, but it’s never been more important than it is now. Why? Because social media has made it easier than ever to feel truly connected to brands. So not being authentic is quickly sniffed out by customers and leaves a negative impression.
To keep up — Share your brand’s story. Post relatable content, even if it’s not perfect. Showcase your people, customers, and the backend of your operations. Share your real voice and try to create conversations online with customers and prospects. The more you show and provide insightful content, the stronger connections you’ll form with your audience.
There are some new platforms and tools that offer unique and personal engagements with customers. One of the favorites of our Business Advisor team is GamerJibe, a dynamic virtual convention platform that provides a fully immersive experience for event attendees. Walk around with your custom avatar as if you are at a real networking event!
Capitalize on the Rise of Video:
78% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% watch them every day. In fact, in 2020, video made up 85% of all internet traffic in the U.S. Why the push for video? When considering the old cliché, "A picture is worth 1,000 words", just imagine what a video is worth. On Linkedin alone, in a one-minute video, you can share several pictures as well as demonstrate your products, answer commonly asked questions, and have a face-to-face conversation with your audience.
To keep up — Create and nurture a YouTube channel. After Google, YouTube is the second most trafficked website. Consistently, create content that resonates with your target audience. Video is more personal and allows your audience to connect with you on a much more human level, which is the most powerful connection.
Ignite Media: With 1 billion hours of videos being viewed daily on YouTube alone, it's obvious how huge the opportunity is for video. Ignite Media uses this awareness of opportunity and captures their client's attention by using story to showcase products and services in an emotionally engaging way. Bringing your brand to life online. They also specialize in SEO and website design.
JB Visions: A full service post-production company that takes your recorded media and turns it into professional-grade content. Leaving you more time and energy to continue creating content for your audience. They're more affordable than larger agencies and production houses as well. Services include corporate videos, social media content, real estate videos, video editing, digital content strategy, and much more.
Fortify for the Long-term with Information Security & Privacy:
1 in 3 consumers (in the U.S. and U.K.)say they don’t know which companies offer the best protection for their personal data. We can see this changing as we move through 2021. As we continue to move away from cash, protecting our online financial history, as well as personal data will be paramount.
To keep up — Make sure you have a plan to protect your customers’ personal data. Create good practices to know how and where customer data is stored and create separate accounts for everyone on your team who will have access to this data. As well as notify your customers about your privacy policies and be as transparent as possible.
You can also check out our blog written by our very own vCIO, Mark Kennedy, about Top IT strategies for security, efficiencies, and growth for small businesses and startups.
Here are two cyber solutions partners on our business services matching platform that we endorse.
Havoc Shield: With a growing business, your cyber perimeter grows too. In these current times you'll likely have more employees working from home than ever before, in an environment that blurs the boundary between corporate and personal.
As your exposure increases to consumer-grade routers, mixed-use home networks, and the growing probability that some personal tasks occur on company-issued hardware, you need a way to understand and address the associated risks. Havoc Shield takes care of most of the security legwork so you can focus more on the business side of things.
Strike Graph: Strike Graph helps you build a simple, reliable and effective compliance program so that you can get your security certifications quickly and stay focused on what's important in your business.
With a strong team of highly passionate individuals who value quality time outside of business, they make quick work out of complex compliance requirements. So you too can have more time to do the things you prefer.
In summary, here are the action steps to make sure you keep up with the changing digital environment in online business. Do these consistently to give your company the nurturing it needs to thrive.
For more in-depth analysis on potential vendors and partner solutions, sign-up on ShapeConnect’s B2B Services Matching Platform. Where you'll get all the guidance you need to put these powerful strategies in motion for your business.