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Go Digital or Die

By Gavin McWhirter

Adopting digital technologies is now a necessity for all businesses, not just startups and tech companies. If you don’t embrace technology and become more efficient, your business won’t be able to compete for much longer.

To ensure your business thrives, start implementing technology to increase productivity with the same resources or enhance efficiency in your current processes.

Many small business owners struggle to incorporate technology into their operations. Processes like social media management and customer relationship management (CRM) seem unfamiliar and challenging.

However, you can and should embrace the digital age. This blog post discusses why micro-businesses find it challenging to adopt digital technologies and provides a roadmap to overcome these hurdles.


Five Challenges

  1. Cost: Purchasing and implementing digital technologies used to be prohibitively expensive. However, today there are many affordable digital solutions available. Per-user, per-month subscriptions make software more accessible for small businesses. Your challenges are determining which software is needed and which solution is the best match.
  2. Lack of Technical Expertise: If you lack an in-house IT department or technical skills, it seems easier to stick with familiar ways of doing things. One fear is you lack the know-how to use digital systems. However, as a business owner, you understand your operations better than anyone else, and technology should help you run your business more effectively.
  3. Resistance to Change: Some owners are reluctant to change how they have always done things. This mindset makes it difficult to embrace the benefits of new technologies. However, a technology used well reduces the time spent on administrative repetitive tasks, freeing up time to improve the quality of your offer.
  4. Complexity: The perceived complexity of digital technologies can be a barrier. Owners might find it challenging to understand new systems. Fortunately, there are software solutions designed specifically for niche businesses. With careful selection, these systems can quickly feel intuitive, making adoption easy and delivering immediate results.
  5. Data Security Concerns: The increasing use of digital technologies raises concerns about data security. Businesses worry about the vulnerability of customer information, financial data, and other sensitive information. While these concerns are valid, proper practices and procedures can manage these risks effectively.

Overcoming these challenges requires a tailored approach for each small business. It’s not feasible to do everything at once, but the benefits of digital technologies make it worth the effort.

Common areas for progress include increased efficiency, improved customer service, expanded reach, lower costs, enhanced data collection and analysis, better collaboration, increased sales, improved cash flow, increased agility, and improved access to capital. The specific benefits and their impact will depend on the technologies adopted and the nature of your business.


Your Roadmap

  1. Invest in Training: Improve your team’s digital skills through training and education. Consider programmes offered by councils or professional bodies that provide advice and training at low or no cost.
  2. Seek Informal Advice: Reach out to networking groups, professional associations, or fellow business owners for advice on systems they use and their experiences with them.
  3. Work with a Technology Company: Consider partnering with a technology company that specialises in assisting small businesses with adopting digital technologies. Their technical expertise and support help to implement new systems and software quickly.
  4. Take a Step-by-Step Approach: Avoid overwhelming yourself. Take a gradual approach to adopting new systems and processes. This method allows for effective implementation.
  5. Prioritise Data Security: List the data you intend to gather, store, and process. Invest time in understanding data security issues and use resources such as free online training by organisations like the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Centre.
  6. Embrace Experimentation: Be open to trying new technologies and processes. Take advantage of free trials offered by software systems to develop new skills and find ways to improve productivity and profitability.
  7. Stay Up-to-Date: Stay informed about technology developments and digital trends by subscribing to newsletters or following relevant blogs. This activity will inspire new ideas and keep your skills and knowledge current.

Remember, other businesses are adopting digital technology and continually improving their operations. If you fail to adapt, your business will eventually suffer.

Commit to adopting more digital and technological solutions. Seek local support, join networking groups, and consult trusted individuals about their technology use. Identify areas in your business that could benefit from technology systems or software to improve efficiency.

Gavin McWhirter | UK Business Advisors (

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