Leading the way in small business digital transformation
There’s no denying a modern, successful business needs to embrace digital technology, especially given the events of the last few years. The global pandemic that saw millions of people working from home overnight highlighting how integral digital technology has become in our lives.
Without the recent surge in integration of digital technology in the everyday operations of small to medium sized businesses (SME), it could be argued the pandemic would’ve caused even higher levels of business closures across Australia.
That’s why, as a business owner, if you haven’t fully embraced technology or considered digitally transforming your business, there’s no better time than now. It’s time to step into the future or risk being left behind.
What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation is the adoption of digital technology to replace more traditional, usually manual, tasks and processes in small to medium sized businesses. More than just handing everyone a laptop and uploading an awkwardly written LinkedIn post every few weeks, embracing digital technology is all about transforming your business for the better.
And the good news is, it doesn’t matter what type of business you own, replacing outdated technologies with current and more efficient systems can revitalise your employees, your customers, and your business.
Digitally transforming your business will take time and effort. There may be the need for some extra training, to learn the new systems and processes and even allow for a bit of trial and error in some areas. Not all new technologies will run smoothly, so there may be some tweaking along the way. But these issues are temporary and when everything is up and running to full capacity, your business will start to see the value and reap the rewards.
Australia is lagging behind
In 2021, CPA Australia conducted its Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey 2021-22 and found Australian small businesses are lagging behind their Asia and Pacific neighbours when it comes to an uptake of digital technology. The report showed we’re not as likely to use social media, invest in digital technology or even worry about cyber security.
‘Given the lower technology adoption rates of Australian small businesses and their older profile, it’s not surprising that they were the least likely to say their investment in technology increased their profitability. Even when Australian small businesses do invest in technology, they underperform their regional counterparts in selecting technology that improves profitability.’
The following chart from the same CPA survey proves the point.
And perhaps even an explanation as to why Australian small business owners are currently so reluctant to digitally transform their businesses.
One of the key findings of the CPA survey is:
‘There is a clear generational gap in digital adoption. Respondents 50 and over are far less likely to be taking advantage of various digital technologies in their business.’
It is understandable that for many, digital technology can be daunting. Many business owners have real concerns about the safety of the Internet, including how new technology can improve the day-to-day operation of their business. However, with the cost of doing business continuing to increase, it becomes essential for business owners to consider how digital adoption can streamline business processes, create customer loyalty, and support their employees’ productivity to make sure their business continues to be profitable now and into the future.
How your business can adopt digital transformation
Let’s explore a few ways you can help your business get on the front foot when it comes to digital transformation.
Payroll digital transformation benefit
Payroll might not be the first area that comes to mind when thinking about digital transformation, but it is a necessity for day-to-day business functions. Poor management of payroll can have a significant impact and shouldn’t be underestimated in how it can affect your employee’s experience. Inaccurate or late salary payments are avoidable errors that can lead to employee disengagement, low productivity and low retention.
From an employee perspective, when you opt for a cloud-based payroll software they benefit from things such as online payslips, but the benefits to your business are even greater. When you improve efficiency in your payroll process you will remove the chance for mistakes to be made, save time and help ensure your business is compliant.
Here at Beam we make superannuation simple. Beam partners with several leading payroll software providers to help make payments seamless and simple. By integrating your payroll software with Beam, employers can manage employee payroll, superannuation and STP reporting in one single, central platform.
Cloud-based subscriptions including payroll software
Cloud-based subscriptions can allow everything important for your business to be accessible from anywhere. Following what everyone has just experienced around the world with the global pandemic, a shift to cloud-based software allows easier transition for remote and hybrid workforces.
These cloud software options offer businesses not only flexibility, efficiency, and scalability but peace of mind knowing their business is keeping up with the changing nature of business advances. It also helps improve the ability for collaboration and reduces the cost of purchasing software as you can access updated services and functionality in real time.
Many of the leading payroll software companies offer a cloud-based subscription which is perfect for Australian businesses.
Website/Ecommerce – design and development
The pandemic has seen a greater uptake of people heading online to make purchases or learn about a business, so it’s worth considering whether your business should have an online presence.
Setting yourself up with an online presence that is within your complete control, unlike social websites, can provide advantages for your business. Not only can it open up new business opportunities, it can also help existing and potential customers find you in search engines such as Google.
Plus, if you add online shopping to your website and sell products online, this can offer an alternative sales stream for your business.
Online sales platforms
While the website for your business should be the main online sales platform for online shopping, sometimes it’s not always possible to reach a wider audience when you are first creating an online presence for your business.
With more people shopping online than ever before, taking advantage of online sales platforms can be a smart move for your business to help you reach a wider audience, particularly if you sell physical products. Some of the main online sales platforms you can look to leverage for your business include Amazon, eBay or Etsy. Another option can be setting up a Facebook and Instagram online shop.
Additionally, there are several other sales platforms that you can leverage outside of the ecommerce space. For example, for tourist accommodation there are a raft of online travel agent sites, such as Expedia and Booking.com that you can list your business on.
Digital inventory tracking systems
It can be helpful to know what’s in stock for your business at the click of a button. An integrated point of sale system for your business that tracks your inventory in real time, allows you to enhance visibility by tracking data and collecting information throughout your supply chain.
A digital inventory system can help lighten the workload that used to be done manually and save your business money.
Portable payment devices
Now you can run your business from anywhere at any time. While traditional EFTPOS systems are still very popular, there are a raft of portable payment devices now available like Square card reader.
Cyber security systems
Why risk your business? If you are making the move to a more digital centric business then making considerations for cyber security should be top of mind, so you can safeguard your business data and avoid cyber-attacks. Ensuring your IT systems are secure and protected as best they can be from attacks is in the best interest for your business and customers. For best practice approach to protect your business from cyber-attacks visit business.gov.au.
Data and analytics software
Having access to good quality data and analytics can help you make better and informed business decisions, while also helping improve how you engage with your customers. For instance, a useful analytics tool that you can use for your business website is Google Analytics. This is a free tool that can help give you insights into understanding more about the performance of your website like who visits your website and the actions they take.
Depending on your business, there may also be industry specific data and analytics software that can help you gain greater insights into how to grow your business and take advantage of any opportunities you see from your data reports.
As technology continues to evolve, it is more important than ever for small and medium business owners to embrace digital transformation. Harnessing the benefits of technology today will mean your business is prepared for the future, the needs of your business, your customers, and your employees.
If your business is looking to go digital and simplify your superannuation processes, visit beamconnect.com.au to find out how Beam can support your business.