Last December, Forbes reported that 55% of startups have adopted a digital business strategy, compared to 38% of traditional companies. And, 89% of all companies have already adopted a digital-first business strategy.
This is great and all, but what exactly is a digital business? Great question! Digital transformation, or the use of rapidly-evolving technology to solve problems, has led companies to have to also adapt to the changing times.
Therefore, digital business is one that caters to the use of digital technology and is actively implementing strategies to ensure they’re impacting their customers where they’re at online.
Understanding the Growth of Digital Transformation
To understand what a digital business is and how to implement digital business solutions, it helps to understand how these types of businesses came about. And, it all starts with digital transformation.
Digital transformation has been changing the way companies do business ever since the introduction of, well, anything digital. Technologies such as fax machines, email, and even word processing software have all digitally transformed companies around the globe.
However, in more current times, this phenomenon refers to the way in which a business can integrate modern digital technologies into every area of their business. The goal? Delivering more value to their customers and increasing operational efficiency.
Studies show that most digital transformations are driven by growth opportunities. This means that, when a company identifies a way to use digital tools and strategies as a way to facilitate growth, they will (and should).
Companies also note that they often feel pressure from their competition and by new regulatory standards. You might see this with the GDPR rules that went into effect in 2018. As the entire world moves more towards a digital landscape, businesses have to do so as well.
And, this undoubtedly causes a sense of urgency in terms of “keeping up with the times.” Digital business models force companies and their employees to truly focus on harnessing digital transformation initiatives in order to enhance business operations.
Common Elements of Digital Business Models
So, what is a digital business? A company that’s focusing on implementing digital strategies in order to succeed, essentially. But, what should you look for in identifying digital business models?
Well, modern-day digital businesses share a few core elements. Namely, you’ll find that these types of businesses focus on:
- Adopting modern technologies as they come out
- Creating solutions that merge together the digital and physical worlds
- Balancing strategies out to optimize efficiency
- Having a positive impact on customer experience
The last point is perhaps one of the most important core elements of most modern-day digital businesses. The goal is to adopt technologies as they roll out in efforts to not only optimize business processes but also to create solutions that have a positive impact on customers.
And, you’ll find that by adopting these kinds of strategies, customers truly do respond. A study showed that digital transformation and a focus on customer experience can generate a 20-30% increase in customer satisfaction and economic gains of 20-50%.
This, however, is sometimes dependent on whether or not businesses have a dedicated customer experience team that helps bridge gaps in the business between advancing, changing technologies and their customers who use them.
Learning how to set up a digital business online means having to understand these core elements and think about how you’d integrate them into your practices. Whether you’re starting a new digital business or digitizing an existing business, these common elements remain the same.
Are There Benefits of Digital Businesses?
Yes, absolutely! You’re essentially investing in future-proofing your business from further advances and changes in technology. And, the numbers prove just how lucrative it can be.
So, yes, there are clear benefits of digital businesses and companies that focus on integrating digital solutions into their business strategies. But, it goes further than just mere numbers.
Adopting digital-first business strategies means you’re focusing on integrating technologies into your company’s framework. And, by doing so, you’re creating a stronger organizational flow that easily connects customers with your employees, services, and company as a whole.
It’s this connection that is, at the core, that’s what makes digital businesses so strong. If you’re implementing the right technologies, then you can ensure your customers are getting the right information at the right time, which is a start.
Because you’re investing in your people and your processes, you’re able to stay connected across all functions. This includes making it easier for your employees to do your job so the can deliver higher value to your customers across the board.
So, now you understand what a digital business is and how switching over to a digital-first mindest benefits companies now. But, how do you go about implementing those strategies? What does that look like?
Implementing Digital-First Strategies
It might help to take a look at a few examples of big businesses who’ve succeeded in switching to a digital business online. A few you might have heard of include:
- Netflix originally mailed DVDs to customers before switching to their online streaming platform and eventually creating proprietary content.
- Disney parks connect customers with their experience by offering their unique RFID MagicBands.
- Airbnb and Uber are both examples of the access-over-ownership model of digital businesses. Customers use technology to access the service but don’t even “own” anything.
Understanding real-world examples often make it easier to think about how your own company can adopt similar models and processes. Once you’ve got an idea of where you’re at digitally, it’s easier to make sense of where you need to go.
The keys to success in terms of building a successful digital business include:
- Putting the right leaders in place to make long-term changes
- Examining your business’s strengths and weaknesses
- Searching for and accessing digital opportunities
- Creating a digital strategy
- Cultivating new opportunities for the further expansion of digital business
If this sounds like a lot, then you’re not alone. Most businesses struggle at first in cultivating the right digital business model, especially if it requires them to overhaul their existing processes. However, there are a few things that can help make the transition smoother.
As mentioned, you’ll find that putting the right leaders in place to make these long-term digital changes can make all the difference in your long-term success. These leaders can be anybody from a digital marketer to a digital strategist or even a third-party company.
Technology to Use For Digital Strategies
Having forward-thinking leaders who are knowledgable about which kinds of digital tools you can implement to lead with a more digital-first mindset. This first starts with the tools you need to run your business. Then, it extends outwards to include digital client-facing tools.
As far as the digital tools you need to run your business, you’ll want to start by ensuring everything is switched over to cloud-computing. You cany pay for this kind of service or, if you haven’t got the cash, use a more budget-friendly platform like G Suite.
G Suite is Google’s cloud-native collaboration that features productivity apps powered by Google AI. It offers everything you need to digitally connect, collaborate, create and control a business’s operations.
From email support and cloud storage to endpoint management and easy data migration, it’s a great tool to use in digitizing your entire company’s processes, data, and workflow. Not completely online yet?
WordPress is a great web tool that can help you ensure you’ve got a responsive website where customers can find you. This should be step number one in digitizing your business if you haven’t done so already.
Other tools might vary depending on your industry and specific business, but can extend to include:
- Email integration tools (Zapier, MailChimp, etc.)
- Chatbots that can provide AI-powered answers and 24/7 support
- Social media scheduling software
- Financial software such as Stripe that can ensure making and receiving payments is easy
- Communication tools such as Google Hangouts and Slack that make communication easier amongst employees
This is, of course, just an overview. A digitally-focused third-party company that knows how to implement the right technologies for your specific business can help ensure you’re getting the most out of your efforts and spending.
Getting Help With Digital Businesses
Technology is moving ridiculously fast, there’s no doubt about it. As a business, you’ve got to make decisions fast. And, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by that.
We believe in arming businesses like yours with the right systems, tools, and technologies to help you succeed. Here at The Growth Project, it’s really all we care about. Whether it’s got to do with your customer service or the training of your staff, we know how to help.
Looking to create a digital business? We can help. To learn more about our services, take a look at our marketing technology page or simply get in touch with questions regarding specific projects.