It’s pretty clear for everyone, entrepreneurs and consumers alike, that running a business today looks a lot different than it did a few years back, and technology is without a doubt the factor that has contributed the most to the evolution of the business landscape. We live in a digital age and there’s nothing we can do about it but embrace it and adapt to the changes and trends driven by the ongoing digitalisation.
Technology has found its way into every aspect of our lives – from the way we communicate to the way we work, learn and travel, tech advances and innovations have deeply transformed the world we live in. But if the impact of technology and digitalisation might not be as noticeable at individual level, the tech revolution is more than obvious at business level.
For years now, businesses big and small have been enjoying the benefits provided by the rapid pace of technological developments. This has provided business owners all over the world with a whole new set of tools and solutions to help them run their operations and overcome common obstacles. But despite the many advantages provided by the wide range of software, hardware, and online capabilities available at the moment, running a business in a digital age can be a double-edged sword. For every perk they offer, there are also risks and challenges attached. Since you can’t have one without the other, as a business owner the wisest thing you can do is become aware of the full picture, so you can take the good and protect against the bad.
Taking advantage of technology in business
Let’s start off on a positive note and take a look at some of the ways you can use technology and digital solutions to your advantage in business.
Probably the biggest advantage provided by digitalisation is the ability to streamline business processes and workflows. Digital tools and solutions give you the possibility to automate many of the tasks that were once performed manually and took up a lot of time and resources. Nowadays, machines and programs can be employed to do the same jobs that humans did, but with greater accuracy and efficiency, saving you time, effort, and money, and eliminating the risk of human error.
If you want to keep track of receipts, create invoices, control your cash flow and stay on top of business finances, tools like accounting software can make a world of a difference. If you need to improve communication and collaboration within your company or manage multiple projects with greater ease, communication and collaboration tools such as Zoom, Trello or Slack can provide the support and help you need.
No matter what your business requirements are, there’s a tool, app, or software that can make life a lot easier for you. Obviously, that will translate into greater efficiency in delivering quality products/services, higher customer satisfaction, increased sales, and ultimately a significant bottom-line growth, which is every business owner’s dream.
Let’s not forget that digitalisation can also help your business in times of crisis – and the recent experience of the Covid pandemic is a good example of that. When normal business operations were halted due to health and safety restrictions, businesses all across the world turned to digital solutions to connect with their remote workforce and continue their activities. It was then that the business world truly realised the importance of implementing cloud storage solutions and mobile technology into their strategy. Workers realised that in certain circumstances, with the right tools and devices in place, they could fulfil their tasks from afar just as effectively as they would in a traditional office setting, if not more so.
Apart from increasing productivity and helping businesses stay afloat during times of uncertainty, digitalisation also provides new mediums to promote your products and services. Building a solid online presence by creating a professional website and employing the right digital marketing techniques can go a long way in helping you reach a larger audience and expand your customer base.
The challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the digital age
Ideally, you would be able to enjoy all the benefits listed above without having to worry about risks and hazards. But since the current business landscape is far from ideal, dealing with the negative impact of digitalisation is inevitable.
For starters, operating a business in the digital environment exposes you to the risk of cyber-attacks. As businesses become increasingly reliant on technology and digital solutions, the number of cybercrimes continues to rise proportionally. For hackers, the fast pace of business digitalisation provides new opportunities to attack. The issue usually stems from a lack of awareness regarding cybersecurity. Business owners will often use outdated software or completely ignore the necessity of developing an effective cyber security strategy to keep threats at bay. That gives way to many loopholes and vulnerabilities that malicious entities can exploit to their advantage.
Apart from security risks, another challenge that you might face as a business owner as you’re trying to embrace digital transformation is resistance to change from your employees. Making the switch to digital is especially difficult for businesses operating in industries that are traditionally resistant to change, or companies that have fallen behind in the digital race. However, with proper training and an efficient strategy, these obstacles can be properly mitigated.
It’s also becoming more and more difficult to keep up with new tech advances and stay on top of emerging technology trends all the time. This stresses the importance of keeping a close eye on the market and your competitors and investing more time and resources into continuous development for your business.
There’s definitely a good and a bad side to technology. So, it’s up to you to learn how to make the most of the advantages that digitalisation provides and minimise the risks as much as possible if you want to thrive in today’s digital age.
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