Have you ever wondered how to digitize my business?
Learn how to digitize your business at the right time to generate more revenue and never cripple your business.
Do you have a physical business that is not generating the income you expected? Do you feel that your business is at a standstill and you can’t do anything? You also ask yourself questions like Do I want to increase my sales with an online business?
Analyzing the entire current and future situation is essential. Here you will find really encouraging opportunities and scopes, but you must follow these tips and take into consideration all the details to achieve success.
1. Be Prepared and Organized
Before we start we have to introduce with one of the most important things for these steps, which is the organization.
When digitizing your company or brand, it is essential to know and use good organizational tools. Here we will list some of the most recommended ones.
There are many free tools that can help you organize your business digitally. There are many services that will be really useful to organize a digitized company, we suggest the following ones:
To correctly organize the tasks we have to accomplish, optimizing our efforts and resources, always keeping the deadline in mind. This free online tool (although it also offers a premium service) will allow you to organize and plan all tasks, both individual and team tasks. It is very useful as it allows you to have an overview of all the projects you and your colleagues have to work on.
During business trips, receipts are usually kept to justify your expenses. This task can be automated and digitized thanks to this cloud-based tool with which you can scan the receipts, note the concept and when you have executed the expense in order to prepare the report that you will send to your company. Thanks to Expensify you can simplify the control of your company’s internal expenses without having to go through accounting books.
Slack can be described as the industry leader in collaboration tools. Project management in Slack is mainly done through communication channels such as chats and project conversations. Individual chat sessions between team members take place in separate channels. In addition, Slack keeps a history of conversations and offers individual video calls (free version) and group video calls (paid “Standard” and “Plus” versions).
Slack puts communication at the forefront and resembles a chat application. Individual conversations are highlighted on the right edge of the screen.
Slack is especially suitable if your team is looking for a fast and efficient tool for internal communication and can be upgraded to expand its functionality with the integration of multiple apps and bots.
Scoro is a business management software for professional and creative services. In addition to typical functions such as task management and job tracking, it also offers financial management and customer relationship management. In Scoro you can manage your budget, compile and send invoices and manage all your customers.
Basecamp is a project management and team communication software. Group your team’s work by project, making it easy to get an overview of activities or comment on progress. It has many features that team leaders find useful. From task lists and team message boards to document and file storage. There is very little you can’t do with Basecamp.
Asana is an application designed to track work and manage your projects. It allows you to map your work and see how close you are to achieving your objectives. Its visual timeline is ideal for work planning, as it provides an easy overview of the progress within the different projects.
Weekdone is a goal setting and weekly status reporting platform. Instead of focusing on projects like most other task managers, employees and teams work to achieve quarterly OKRs (objectives and key results) . Weekdone is also good for getting a quick overview of each employee’s specific work separately. This makes it easy to know not only the status of your projects and objectives, but also the status of your employees.
Evernote helps you take notes, share them and organize your work. In addition to ordinary note-taking, it allows you to create to-do lists, add images, scan documents with your camera, take handwritten notes and make sketches.
2. Upload your files and share them online with your team.
These are the best apps and services for file sharing:
1 – Google Drive
We bet it was impossible to solve our Snoogle Snive riddle, right guys (guys…?)?
Google Drive is the king of file sharing services. It’s easy, free, fast, complete and backed by Google. What could be better?
Everything is automatically synchronized with any device connected to your account and sharing files is as easy as typing someone’s email address or sending them a link to your project.
Google Drive also comes with these unmatched features:
- OCR text recognition
- Image recognition
- Ability to undo changes in the last 30 days
- Easily store videos and music as well
An additional advantage to Google Drive is that you and your entire team probably already have accounts if you use Gmail, so there is no need to sign up.
2 – DropBox
DropBox is the most complete, secure and powerful file sharing tool for businesses of all sizes, but especially for small and medium-sized businesses.
The only problem is that it costs money (but not much). The registration process also annoyed us, but Google Drive / Docs spoiled us.
Everything is stored off-site on extremely secure servers and accessible on any device you have connected to your account. That makes it really easy for teams to create a document on the desktop and have instant access to it on their smartphones without having to transfer ANYTHING.
DropBox Business is a step ahead of that, with amazing collaboration features like:
- Unlimited recovery
- User activity audits
- Detailed sharing permissions
- User Groups
- Integration with Office 365
DropBox Business may be the best file sharing application for businesses, even if it is a bit complicated to set up.
3 – Apple iCloud
If you subscribe to Mac Gospel, the first file sharing tool to consider should be Apple iCloud (although it also works great on PC). It is so simple that with just a few clicks, all your files will be backed up and organized in an instant.
If you already use an Apple product, you won’t have to jump through hoops like downloading apps, learning how to use a new service, or reorganizing files. iCloud organizes everything as it is on your Mac, separating photos, videos and documents and providing dedicated files for the work you’ve done in apps, and it does it all automatically.
Apple’s daily backups keep you up to date without a thought, and amazing security features like seamless data restoration and the “Find My iPhone” feature help prevent data loss and theft better than most other file sharing services.
If you have a Mac or iOS device, you’ll love it:
- Automatic file organization
- Daily backups
- Function to share with the family
- Find my iPhone to prevent loss
- .99 per month for 50GB
4 – Box
Box is the file sharing application for businesses. It is used by more than 50,000 companies worldwide to share files, collaborate in real time and keep up with regulations and compliance.
Box does much more than just store files. You could say that companies that opt for this service really think outside of … well, you get it. Create, share and store in real time while managing workflows and engaging your team and customers no matter where you are. We are talking about instant creation, communication and execution, all in one place.
Box also provides peace of mind to your customers with customer-managed encryption and complete activity logs. Plus, Box keeps you compliant with regulatory policies everywhere you do business (a HUGE plus, because who has time for that?).
Box brings to your business:
- Real-time collaboration
- Workflow automation
- Permissions and data protection.
- Offline synchronization
- Regulatory compliance
5 – OneDrive
OneDrive is Microsoft’s equivalent of Apple’s iCloud. While the storage and browsing aspects of this service are not as user-friendly as Apple’s, there are many more features you can access if you choose to pay for a premium version. These include offline access, file restoration and Microsoft Office.
We have to say we’re a little disappointed that you have to pay a premium plan to get some of the services you get in iCloud with every plan (including the free one), but having Office in the cloud makes doing business and sharing files so easy that it’s worth the price.
A OneDrive Premium subscription offers you:
- Up to 6 TB of storage.
- Password-protected link sharing
- Offline access
- Microsoft Office on all devices
- Protection against ransomware
3. Analyze your business model:
In this phase you will write a document that is clear enough about the logic of your current business. While this is a completely conceptual part of the process, you must understand that it is the most relevant to the financial success of the process. Here all the elements that interact and relate to your business will be highlighted.
It is important to look at it from an objective perspective rather than as an owner or seller. On the one hand, you will evaluate it following the black box model, i.e. you will focus on the inputs and outputs rather than on the internal process itself.
Inputs can be:
- Raw materials
- Services contracted to third parties
Outputs can be:
- Product ready
- Service provided and additional services
It is important that you include all the factors you can find, since the business model will be more precise and the decisions you make will be more accurate. Once this analysis is done, we will change the perspective and focus on the internal process.
This analysis involves describing what is done with the inputs to turn them into outputs. Including a small conceptual diagram to indicate the phases of the process would be much more useful.
4. Find your customer’s profile:
In this phase you must make a complete turnaround in your perspective, because you have to focus on the customer’s needs. Now you are going to think about how to satisfy those needs in the best possible way, even with extra values to be more competitive.
Once described, you will make two or three profiles of people who have those needs, so you will be able to visualize who your main and secondary customers are. This part is very important for the digital world where market segmentation can be easily selected. We will explore more about this later.
Let’s visualize this with an example:
|Age range:||From 25 to 35 years old|
|Annual income:||From XXXX to XXXXX|
The characteristics of buyer and consumer must be distinguished because there are many cases where the buyer and consumer are not the same. This means that we sometimes buy or contract services for other people.
A very clear example of this is in the case of the sale of school supplies, where the buyer is the parent and the consumer is the child attending school. For these situations, both profiles should be analyzed. In other words, you must analyze your product taking into account two “customer” profiles.
You should include other characteristics if they are relevant to the business activity developed.
5. Web platform:
In this phase we enter the most practical part of the digitalization process, since it is the visible element of your digital business. It can be understood in analogy with the facade and interior of your physical store or business.
You will be able to find an infinite number of options on content management systems or CMS. If you want to save yourself the long process of deciding which one to use, I suggest the following for their incredible features if you want a tighter budget and will not have functionalities too far away from the usual:
- Popularity: With a market share of more than 60% among CMS.
- Large availability of plugins (more than 36 thousand)
- High availability of customization
- Easy to use and with the possibility to implement a very intuitive visual composer.
- Completely free and open source
In this phase you will have to set up the structure of your website, place your company’s logo, decide on the colors and all the aspects relevant to the corporate identity.
6. Turn your website into an online store:
In case you have not opted for directly creating an online store and for now you have a catalog type website, you probably need to convert it into an online store or implement different payment methods.
To create your web store online or convert your current website into a sales site we recommend several pre-selected platforms so you don’t have to mess with options that don’t really suit you.
Here are the best open source CMS platforms to make your eCommerce
Magento is undoubtedly the leading platform for open commerce innovation in the eCommerce CMS world. Each year, Magento handles more than $100 billion in gross merchandise volume. They have a massive marketplace full of useful website themes and applications.
Magento was recently acquired by Adobe, the U.S. software giant, for $1.68 billion. Adobe has a fairly large developer base, an active creative community, and a robust cloud infrastructure. Adobe’s resources will undoubtedly shape Magento. At present, it is unclear how the partnership between the two companies will change e-commerce as a whole. All we know now is that Magento will surely benefit. Although Magento is open source (free to use), you will have to pay for hosting, apps and premium themes, but using the platform itself is completely free.
PrestaShop is one of the most powerful and popular open source e-commerce applications widely used in the European area. This CMS has just been used by more than 270,000 e-commerce stores worldwide using PrestaShop technology.
Its mission is to develop world-class e-commerce software through open source innovation. That’s why anyone can download, install and configure PrestaShop for free.
PrestaShop is listed in 2016 Inc. 5000 of Europe’s fastest growing private companies. The company also received the 2016 CMS Critic Award for Best eCommerce Software. They have a large marketplace of add-ons and themes based on their site that sells premium modules and themes by them and by third party agencies as well.
You know that WordPress is the leader of all CMS and that’s why WooCommerce is one of the most powerful open source e-commerce plugins , which allows a WordPress website to become an e-commerce. WoooCommerce has many free themes and plugins that can make your e-commerce site more functional and active.
The most important advantages of these add-ons are that they can enable various functions for the basic WooCommerce software with a single click and most of these add-ons are free to download and install. WooCommerce additional product options is one of those add-ons that equips the product page of Woocommerce site with many additional features, such as collect input fields, file upload option, date and time picker, color picker, price picker, location picker, etc.
7. Method of payment:
Whether you sell physical or virtual products, offer a service or are an intermediary in some commercial process, you must provide a payment method. This refers to a safe and comfortable solution for the customer and for you. In these cases you will have to evaluate the platform that suits you according to several factors such as:
- Internal regulations of your country of residence
- Ease of access to the money obtained
Thus, there are many combinations of payment methods and virtual wallets that will allow the customer to pay by credit or debit card, bank account, wire transfer and so on. As the rules are varied, you will have to explore for yourself the options available. But you can take these suggestions as a guide:
- If you are a freelancer, Payoneer or Skrill will come in handy almost anywhere in the world.
- If you want to set up an eCommerce store, you can opt for: Paypal, PayU, Stripe, MercadoPago, or your bank POS among others.
You can then incorporate these paid solutions with a WordPress plugin.
8. Social networking:
Of course they can’t be left out! They are the main sources of potential customers that contribute to improve the positioning of our website in search engines such as Google. These social media allow us to create more effective advertising campaigns by being able to define the target profile of our customers.
As you will recall, in step 2 we defined the characteristics and interests of our potential customers, so we can use this data to run tailored advertising campaigns on Facebook, for example.
And the best part:
You can improve your positioning with the help of customers without paying a penny. This is achieved by allowing them to share your website content on their social media accounts. In this way your website will gain authority and relevance while becoming known within the circles of your customers.
To apply it you simply go to the WordPress plugin gallery and install a plugin that adds the share buttons within each page of your site.
9. Physical store:
While the idea of digitizing your business was to become independent from your physical store, it doesn’t mean you can’t use a hybrid solution that brings the best of both worlds. There are many stores in this modality.
It is not necessary that all sales are made online, but sometimes, the website is a perfect way to make a physical store known. Therefore, you can dedicate a section of your website to this, as follows:
- Register your store on Google My Business: it will allow your customers to find your store on Google Maps through its name.
- Include an interactive Google Maps showing your business.
- Include information such as: address and telephone numbers.
10. Choose the best agency to digitize your business:
If you do not have time to carry out all these processes on your own, you do not see yourself capable and you have the budget to invest in it, it is always advisable to hire a professional agency to cover all these points.
The truth is that there are many things to take into account and the experience of a good agency will help you to be competitive and stand out from your rivals. The online world is very hard and day by day is being updated, so it is good to put your trust in a professional company that applies its know how and that puts you in the first pages of google with the best possible product.
If you want us to help you in this process, do not hesitate to contact us!
Once you have reached all these stages, you will have a functional online business in all general aspects. It is up to you to find solutions for specific situations according to your business model.
Remember not to leave your website forgotten and update it continuously to be always up to date with an ever-changing and advancing digital world.
More information on how to digitize your business
The term digitization has been appearing in popular business and technology blogs for years, yet people still struggle to understand the term. Which brings us to the important question: What is digitization? Digitization, according to Business Dictionary, is the conversion of analog information into digital form with appropriate electronic devices so that the information can be processed, stored and transmitted through digital circuits, equipment and networks.
Simply put, digitization is the conversion of information into a digital format. A classic example of this would be digitizing music on CD. The digitization of business leads to a digital workplace. Contrary to popular notion, it is much more than the absence of paper.
Why should digitization be the next step forward?
Digitization is an integral part of maintaining your business in the modern world. If you are just starting out, you are expected to have a digitized model. However, existing companies face a challenge here, as they have probably operated in the same way for generations, and updating their processes is not without risk. In any case, companies must adapt, otherwise they will not remain relevant. And digitization is one of the main ways in which companies are adapting.
Reasons why you should digitize your business
More than 85% of top business leaders worldwide have business digitalization as their priority. And some 65% feel they will lose their competitive advantage if they do not digitize their business. Here’s why you should digitize your business.
■ Cost reduction
Digitization reduces the number of personnel required to handle paper copies of the record. Digital archives eliminate the transportation costs required to move documents from one place to another. Moreover, in a recent survey, nearly two-thirds of U.S. companies achieved a positive return on investment within two years of digitization.
■ saves time
A company that relies on paper documentation wastes thousands of employee hours in an attempt to locate, maintain and update them. In addition, many of these documents are only valuable in a particular situation for only a few data points. Therefore, it makes sense to convert data into digital form and save time otherwise spent going through irrelevant information to find the information they need.
■ Customer Service
If your business is customer-oriented, digitization allows you to drastically improve customer service. Customers expect to be able to have all interactions online, from banking to shopping. They are more likely to use your business again if you offer them a seamless experience. In addition, digitization also allows you to collect and store information about your customers easily and accurately.
■ Flexibility in staffing
Digitization also provides greater flexibility in staffing because it allows staff to work remotely. Companies can retain employees when staff enjoy the flexibility of being able to work from home. In addition, digitization reduces overhead costs by reducing the amount of office space a company needs. In addition, significantly decreasing a company’s environmental footprint is another additional benefit here.
■ Coping with emergencies
Prepare your business for any type of emergency and disaster by archiving paper documents in an efficient cloud-based storage system. In addition, when crucial information remains online, it will be much easier to resume business operations after a disaster. You would not have to waste your time and energy trying to find documents, at a time when you will be focusing on disaster management.
Best practices for digitizing your business
Digitization, when done correctly, can help turn your company into a more customer-centric, high-performing organization. If you have started digitizing but are not seeing the benefits as quickly as you would like or have not started to see the benefits you expected.
Then it’s time to step back and make some adjustments. To accelerate your gains from digitization, here are five things you can do.
■ Set your priorities
How do you set priorities for the digitization of your business? You can decide which problems have priority and then evaluate each potential project against that criteria. Suppose your objective is to digitize institutional knowledge about services or products. Will it consider things like, are some information assets inaccurate? What assets do sales reps request the most? You need to set your priorities, whatever your goal, to ensure that digitization gets you there.
■ Strategic view
Start your digitization projects with end goals in mind. Ruminate on what you want to achieve and then build a strategy around those objectives. What do you want to achieve? Faster response times in case customers have a query? Shorter process to share information internally? Once you have defined the business objectives for digitization, you begin to determine how you will achieve them. Set your goals first, and then take it from there.
■ Focus your efforts
From sales and marketing to supply chain and operations, digitization has the power to transform every part of an organization. Identify the areas where your organization will benefit most as part of your digitization strategy. And then look for areas where you can make significant changes quickly. For example, recruiting was a key area to digitize at Procter & Gamble.
■ Don’t just rely on technology
An important aspect of digitizing your business is investing in digital technology resources. If you are just automating older processes through technology, don’t be surprised if you encounter the same performance and productivity issues. Moreover, you will only realize the transformative power of digitization if you treat it as a tool to improve the way people work together, find and share information.
5 Tips for digitizing your company
Just because something has been done in a particular way does not mean that you should continue to do it. It’s a good time to consider digitizing your business, with all the applications and software available to help you go paperless. What don’t you like about digitization? It helps you reduce your carbon footprint, save money and reclaim your office space.
The initial costs of digitization can scare people away from delving into the territory, so it’s important to look at the big picture because the benefits, such as higher productivity and increased storage, may outweigh any anticipated downsides of digitization. Follow these five simple steps to go digital.
- Paperless banking
You can waive bank and credit card statements for eStatements. Instead of going to banks to withdraw money and make payments, use online cooking, saving paper in the process. Also, in an attempt to reduce paper, pay your employees by direct deposit. In addition, it also solves any security concerns you may have, as the advanced encryption software ensures your security.
- Electronic communication
Consider using digital customer management services such as Wave, rather than having customers print contracts or mail invoices. That way, you will reduce the amount of paper you use. And you can save more time and focus on your business performance once you have started digitizing your business.
- Move your operation online
To make sure employees are more productive, put the data they use on a regular basis at their fingertips. In addition, conduct an audit to see where your company uses paper and discover ways to move those operations online. In addition, you can facilitate teamwork by using software such as Slack or Basecamp that allows teams to share documents electronically.
- Optimize your processes
Every organization has some paper processes that they are doing because it has always been done that way. Evaluate all your processes as you digitize your workflow to discover how you can reduce any inefficiencies. In addition, for more digital processes in the future, be sure to schedule periodic reviews to continue to streamline and evaluate your operations.
- Paperless cash management
An easy way to reduce paper consumption is to request paperless invoices or statements from all your service providers. In addition, you can start sending electronic receipts and invoices to your customers. Software such as NetSuite or Esker digitize and automate your accounts payable and receivable. And it helps you save costs by reducing the time spent approving expenses and completing accounting books. In addition, with the help of your bank, you can optimize your payment and invoicing processes and use their technology to help you choose paperless cash management.