Owning a small business is challenging. But if your business has survived over two years, you're ahead of the curve. But as good as your plan is for growing your business three, four, five quarters out -- and beyond -- the increasing pace of technology may disrupt those goals.
Innovation and digitization often force businesses to change or risk potential failure. Regardless of your industry, planning the future path of your business is vital in keeping your doors open well beyond 2019.
Planning and focusing on the future path of your business is much easier if your day-to-day tech runs smoothly. Customer experience and technology strategies go hand-in-hand; they’re essential to business growth and longevity.
Customer Experience Strategy
Gone are the days of credit card slips, handwritten invoices, Windows XP, and cash transactions. The increasingly digital customer expects your business to keep pace with technology. Customers want an exceptional digital experience that retains the human touch they are used to while protecting their personal and financial data. What’s your plan for balancing high tech and high touch throughout the customer buying cycle?
One quick tip to jumpstart your strategy is to answer the following question:
What balance of high tech and high touch do you have right now? Note that this balance can change depending upon the way each customer interacts with your business.
Customer experience determines the success of your business, now more than ever. Align the personal service, digital experience and security that customers have come to expect, and you’ll build trust in your business that will nurture and grow your customer base beyond this year.
According to Entrepreneur, two reasons why small businesses struggle are lack of planning and sufficient working capital. When it comes to technology, knowing how, when and where to spend your money is critical. Do you buy the latest and greatest, or do you have an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mindset? You don’t want to spend money on things you don’t need, but outdated technology and support systems can stop you in your tracks.
One tip is to plan your technology roadmap with what type of IT support you may need in the coming quarters. Generally, these roadmaps include an understanding of:
The average small business spends 6.9% of revenue on IT.
Employees and/or customer needs
Customers want digital conveniences and increased security.
Employees want to work with updated systems and devices.
Current condition of your IT infrastructure older devices and software open you up to security issues, and hardware failures
IT problems can directly affect the customer experience.
Do you have a dedicated IT department or does someone wear multiple hats?
Do you employ a Managed IT Services company for help-desk, monitoring, security, and advice on your IT strategies?
For small businesses, there’s little room for error when it comes to technology spending. Future-pathing your business is challenging but essential to customer experience and continued growth. The benefits of proactive Customer Experience and Technology Strategies include increased employee satisfaction, revenue, customer experience/retention, and efficiency. It may not sound sexy, but it’s necessary if you want to avoid becoming a statistic.
DON'T GET LEFT BEHIND
Future-pathing Your Business
A recent study of business owners found that 70 percent see administrative tasks as the biggest drain on their time when they should be focused on strategy, new products and services, and taking them to market.