How to Improve Your Business in a Digital Age

Build Strategic Partnerships

Whether you run a small business or a large enterprise, the ability to form long-lasting strategic partnerships is crucial for the business’ survival in today’s highly competitive environment. Long-lasting strategic partnerships can be wonderful experiences creating interesting stories driving companies to huge success.

It is important to clarify what the mutual benefits are of the agreement and that there is sufficient value for both parties. The definition of the value your business is bringing to the table has to be clear and straight to the point. As long as these details are not answered or well-defined it will be hard to create an effective partnership.

The parties forming the agreement will bring their own strengths and weaknesses which are understandable, each company has its own story and background. The best partnerships are forged when vision, philosophy and the values are shared and work as a solid foundation for growth. Do not rush into anything without making sure the agreement is well-planned and everyone is committed.

Due diligence is one of the core features of every agreement. It might be hard to express your opinions, but to avoid unwanted and troubled disputes, ensure beforehand that all the details are laid out in writing.

Take Your Files to The Cloud

In the past, people and businesses would use software downloaded onto their hard drive or company server. Today cloud-based systems allow you to access the same facilities through the internet.

Most businesses are switching to cloud - if they haven’t done it already - due to its positive effects on efficiency, productivity, and cash flow.

Probably the biggest advantage is that it is accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. Your team members can edit, share or download documents anytime from anywhere. The largest cloud service providers and apps are not restricted to desktop usage, their services can be utilised on smartphones as well. This can contribute to a successful work-life balance and also to productivity.

Cloud-based services are very flexible in terms of usage and capacity. Many businesses often experience a fluctuation of the demand for their products or services, cloud systems can be easily adapted to meet the clients needs, whether it is scaling up, or down.

Most cloud systems are low in cost as well. Instead of paying large chunks of money for software, enjoy the benefits of ‘pay-as-you-go’ with subscription-based business models.

Automate Your Workflow

Businesses of all sizes should be investing in robust disaster recovery, but for smaller businesses that lack the required cash and expertise, this is often more of an ideal than reality. Cloud services are now helping more organisations buck that trend. According to Aberdeen Group, small businesses are twice as likely as larger companies to have implemented cloud-based backup and recovery solutions that save time, avoid large up-front investment and roll up third-party expertise as part of the deal.

Improve Your Customer Service

If you are planning to improve your relationship with your customers, one of the first things to improve is your customer service experience. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked. This is why it is important to understand that no matter how great your product is, or how sharp and smart your team is, customers will always remember the direct interaction they have with your enterprise.

Not focusing enough on this matter will run the risk of finding yourself or your business in an embarrassing situation.

We have some top skills on our list to look at and where one can often find room for improvement.

Understand where your customer is coming from. Many business owners forget or misunderstand what it is like to be a customer of their own business. Initiate every interaction, whether it’s in person, over the phone, or via email with a quick discussion to know how they are feeling. Begin building your relationship with your customers with a quick interview or survey to understand the nature of their business. This will demonstrate to your customers and colleagues that you are always trying to improve the relationship and your service.

Having a customer service strategy in place is also very important. Sooner or later you will have to create a policy and all your employees have to be familiar with it. Make your customers your top priority and make sure everyone understands it. Your customers will need to feel they are communicating with real people who can be easily reached. Introduce your team on your website with photos and bios. This will encourage your customers to contact you directly because they will know that you are not just offering long FAQ sheets, automated emails, and bots to answer their questions.

Always try to fully meet your customers’ needs. If you are offering a wide range of services to different industries and sectors, make sure you are assigning dedicated employees to specific customers. Consider offering special, bespoke services to your best customers to let them know they are appreciated. Other ways of providing value are by creating communities by setting up conventions, meetings, webinars.

Work On-The-Go

This new trend has lots of benefits. Many great companies have found this a successful way to improve their businesses by giving their employees the freedom to work when, where and how they want.

The concept is about the idea that you spend less time commuting, you have your ‘private office’ along with flexible work hours. Less time wasted and more productive hours generated. There may be people criticising this method, it often seems like an impossible way to track your employees' actions and behaviour. It is worth noticing that going into the office does not necessarily equal productive working.

Encouraging remote work could potentially reduce your business costs on property and rental expenses.

Technology today makes it easy to coordinate the work of your employees around the world by staying connected. Only a laptop and internet is needed and with the help of hundreds of tools and a variety of mobile devices you can have you entire office working virtually.

The biggest advantage (of course) is the flexibility to fit your job around your free time and not the other way around.