10 Smart Techniques for Successfully Scaling Your Business in the Digital Age

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Digital transformation is a buzzword that’s gaining a lot of ground in the business world. Essentially, companies that devote resources to updating their hardware and software are more likely to find success. 

Following these 10 suggestions, your company will be well on its way to a more successful future.

1. Make Room for the New Normal

When you run a successful business, it’s easy to think of the ways you’ve found success will continue to work in the future. Thinking their business is run like a well-oiled machine, many managers and CEOs aren’t willing to break the habits that brought gains in the past.

“A company isn’t like a machine; it’s more like a house,” relates Alex Song, VP of Finance at Ramp. “When something isn’t working right, you get it repaired. Maybe you need to install a dishwasher to make things easier. It’s like that with business tech, too.”

To remain successful, companies need to keep up with the times. Holding onto old websites or data security systems may leave the business feeling antiquated and make crucial information vulnerable to outside threats. Flexibility is key to getting ahead in the digital age.

2. Learn From Digital Founders

While your company may be taking its first few steps into digital optimization, there are corporations that rose to prominence in that very system. Instead of trying to navigate the byways of a virtual landscape without a roadmap, look to the businesses that found success on the platform initially.

“Companies like Amazon have the digital world built into their DNA,” George Fraguio, Vice President of Bridge Lending at Vaster Capital states. “By looking at how they’re structured, you can get a helpful idea of the types of systems and optimizations that might work for you.”

A common thread amongst these digitally native industries is their agility. They tend to be proactive and anticipate upcoming trends, which allows them to respond much more quickly than other organizations that work on a strictly reaction-based mindset. 

3. Optimize the Customer Experience

Many digital transformation initiatives look at the internal operations of a business, forgetting to optimize the forward-facing aspects that handle customer interactions. Catering to your customers is important because relationships extend beyond the sale.

Ubaldo Perez, CEO of Hush Anesthetics finds optimizing a business’s online presence effectively increases customer engagement: “If your customer is having a tough time navigating your website, they aren’t going to stay there. Anyone should be able to find what they need quickly without having to navigate a bunch of menus.”

Don’t think the customer’s digital experience only applies to your web page. Automated service chats and e-mail responses affect how your clients see the company as a whole. Management needs to ensure these interaction portals give users the experience you want them to have.

4. Protect Customer Data

A consequence of being part of the digital frontier is the ability to collect, track, and store data. While analyzing this information has proven exceptionally useful, especially from a marketing perspective, it does leave your company at risk of data erasure or theft. 

“Your customers put a lot of trust in you to make sure their private data is safe,” says Emily Onkey, Co-Founder and CMO of Aplós. “That’s why businesses need to focus on keeping cybersecurity a priority.”

Once an organization begins to acquire customer information, they have a responsibility to safeguard that data. Look into data privacy technology that can help improve your digital security and keep your clients’ private details out of the public eye.

5. Employ Digital Factories

Staying flexible is an important part of scaling your business digitally. If your company can’t make changes on the fly, it runs the risk of falling behind the competition or losing critical information due to zero-day exploits or network vulnerabilities. A digital factory allows you to transform your company’s infrastructure while maintaining its fluid operation.

“Using mission-based teams is an incredible way to get a lot of focus and effort, especially when given the freedom to experiment,” Jin Young Woo, CEO of Like Dreams points out. “The key is balancing team autonomy with the right kind of oversight that engenders success instead of animosity.”

Groups with clear goals can report to department heads with their progress, offering tangible updates thanks to a well-established endgame. In addition, they can work with outside clients to apply feedback immediately, getting responses to their questions in moments instead of months.

6. Provide Clear Lines of Communication

Supply issues have been a persistent problem for years. Though manufacturing and development have been hit hard, delaying and even canceling some product launches, shipping industries continue to struggle to get their packages delivered on time. Without a single source of information, it can cause even more confusion when trying to straighten out these issues.

“A combination of digital inventory management and physical logging of materials just doesn’t work,” advises Brett Moses, COO of OTTO Quotes. “It’s too easy to lose a log sheet or shred the wrong document. Working off of a purely digital system takes care of a lot of that mess.”

When all of your teams get their company information from a single source, they are more likely to receive your message clearly. This lets your teams work together to get your products and services to clients much more quickly.

7. Use the Right Tools

Some IT departments spend a lot of time trying to restructure systems and retrofit the network so it operates at peak efficiency. While this does make sure your IT team knows the ins and outs of your network, it also means a limitation in the kinds of applications they use.

Justin Soleimani, Co-Founder of Tumble shares, “You can have a lot of faith in your IT team, but you need to trust that they can work with the right tools, too. They may have good ideas, but there are pros that spend their lives thinking about digital efficiency. Tap into that knowledge.”

Building your own tools is an effective way to save money, but it also pushes your IT department in the wrong direction. Instead, give them the tools to succeed and let them focus their energy on protecting the company’s assets, not programming new ones.

8. Use Data Efficiently and Effectively

Getting your hands on all of that customer data is adding some real value to your business, but only if you use it in the right way. Segmenting the information for different groups might feel like an excellent opportunity to let teams focus on single bits of information, but it limits the scope of their analysis.

“Departmental interconnectivity provides a lot of benefits,” says Shideh Kaviani, President of Naked Wardrobe. “If marketing, customer service, and shipping are using the same data sets, they can talk to each other about solving problems and making the customer experience better.”

Businesses are always finding new ways to use their customer data. By giving blanket access to non-critical information, these teams can work together toward the common corporate good.

9. Leverage Increases in Productivity

One of the benefits of scaling your business digitally is how much more productive employees can be when given the right tools. With 40% of organizations saying that improved efficiency is the primary benefit of digital growth, it’s easy to see why so many companies are improving their systems.

“You’ll start to see a lot of improvements if you’ve integrated everything properly,” Cody Candee, Founder and CEO of Bounce Luggage Storage explains, “It can really help the company reach its enterprise goals, like implementing workplace diversity or hitting those financial benchmarks.”

A lot of companies are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to relieve some of the burdens on their employees. A dedicated AI system can help workers sift through applications, customer data, and other analytics that would normally take dozens of man-hours to accomplish. SImplifying menial tasks with tech will open workers’ schedules to more productive activities.

10. Plan for the Future

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For a while, Flash was the go-to app for developing unique software for the internet. Due to its unreliable security, it was eventually phased out. Now it’s almost impossible to run Flash-based software remotely. Problems like this can hurt your business if you aren’t prepared to phase out legacy systems.

According to Susan Kim Shaffer, President and Co-Founder of Pneuma Nitric Oxide, relying on older technology can be a critical mistake: “If you’ve put a lot of time and resources into keeping an older device or software suite up-to-date, it might come back to bite you. New tech is making legacy units obsolete, and if you can’t make the switch it might leave you without access to your own network.”

Speed is the major disadvantage of using sub-optimal hardware and software. The business world today relies on quick, secure, and error-free data transfer. Even a legacy system that has been upgraded recently isn’t going to be reliable and invulnerable forever.

Paving the Way to Success

Companies don’t have time to waste wondering if they should take the digital plunge. To gain a competitive edge, small businesses need every advantage they can get to outpace their corporate rivals. 

Larger organizations need to let go of prior successful methods in order to experiment to find what works today. By embracing the digital age, businesses can create a stable foundation on which to build their financial future.