The digital landscape has grown exponentially over the last couple of decades. However, there are still many traditional businesses that aren’t fully engaging with it. Some industries simply haven’t felt the internet can improve their operations. Lack of knowledge about how to transition effectively can also be a hurdle.
Nevertheless, there’s increasing demand from consumers for businesses that offer some form of online experience. Advanced technology is also now more user-friendly, even for small organizations. As such, your company may have reached the point at which you’re ready to make the leap.
We’re going to explore a few best practices to successfully transition your traditional business into the digital space.
Protecting Your Network
One of the key concerns businesses have when transitioning to digital spaces is the potential for cybercrime. These are certainly risks your company needs to take seriously, both during and after the transition process. However, it doesn’t need to be daunting or complex for you to protect your network of devices, consumers, and partners.
Firstly, subscribe to a reliable virus protection provider. Look for software used by respected companies and how regularly the providers update their services. Next, pay attention to your data. It’s one of the most valuable assets at your disposal and a prime target for cybercriminals. You’ll also be transferring and handling a great deal of it during the transition, which can make it more vulnerable.
To protect your network you can also consider using 2 factor authentication. But what is 2 factor authentication and how can it work? Two-factor authentication is a type of multi-factor authentication that requires two pieces of information in order to access an account or system. The first factor is typically something the user knows, such as a password or PIN. The second factor is usually something the user has, such as a key fob or smartphone. Adding an additional layer of security with two-factor authentication can help to prevent unauthorized access to accounts and systems, even if the primary password or PIN is compromised.
Ensure each of the devices and online accounts you are using during the process is secured with two-factor authentication. This means anyone who wants to access your data will require a password and a unique code sent to your phone. You should also put protocols in place to ensure that the most sensitive data is only handled and shared on a limited number of devices and accounts.
It’s also important to consider your business’s attitude toward security. Don’t get complacent, even if you think your business isn’t especially vulnerable to attacks. Businesses in many industries are at high risk of cybercrime, even if they don’t typically operate in digital space. All businesses have valuable digital and informational assets ripe for exploitation. It’s vital to implement solid protocols no matter what sector you operate in.
Plan in Stages
Another aspect that many traditional businesses find challenging in a digital transition is the scale of the task at hand. There’s a lot of advanced technology on the market and a range of different software platforms. Looking at this incorporating this entire business information technology (IT) ecosystem into your operations can be overwhelming.
The important thing to remember is you shouldn’t rush the process. It can feel as though there’s an urgent need to adapt. Though it will certainly benefit you to make the move, you’ll find that rushing in is not only stressful but can also lead to errors. So, plan your transition in clear stages.
Start by listing the stages of change management you need to make in order of priority. What tools, platforms, and services are most in-demand from your customers? Which aspects will best impact your efficiency or rate of customer conversions? Think about the budget here too. What tools can you afford now and which can you invest in later down the line?
You should then work with your staff to plot a timeline for the digital transition journey. Set milestones for each aspect of technological upgrade with tasks leading up to them. It’s also vital to remember that tests and assessments are important parts of any technological change management. If you can test your new digital tools at the time of implementation, you can be more agile in making any changes before they become too entrenched in your operations.
Navigating Social Media
Social media is also likely to play a key role in your digital transition. It is one of the most accessible tools for businesses in the current climate. It helps you to maintain connections with customers, optimizes your online branding, and serves as a customer service channel.
Start with identifying your key platforms. If you try to have a presence on all apps at once, things can become unwieldy. For traditional businesses, the best approach is to understand which platforms your target demographics are most active on. You can then start with the platforms that are most valuable for your business and avoid getting overwhelmed by trying to do too much too soon.
Collaborate with data analytics consultants and market researchers here, wherever possible. They can give you insights into not just what platforms demographics use, but also how your consumers are most interested in engaging with you on them. This can help you to better design and direct your social media marketing strategy accordingly. A little further down the line you can always expand to other platforms and engage with different audiences.
As with so many other elements of the digital transition, you should also be aware of your security responsibilities when it comes to social media. Cybercriminals are proactive in identifying and exploiting vulnerable users on social media platforms. This is often through deploying malware links and data theft via phishing activities.
The essential security steps you need to take on social media include having unique and strong passwords for each platform and limiting the personal information you post. It’s also vital for you and your staff to gain training on how to identify fraudulent posts and suspicious links that can lead to malware downloads. This can help keep your business, employees, and customers safe.
The transition from traditional business environments to digital space can feel daunting at times. But there are practical steps you can utilize to adapt successfully. Maintain strong cybersecurity protocols across your network. Don’t assume you need to rush into the transition; plan carefully according to your priorities. Social media is a valuable tool but it’s important to understand how to optimize it for the needs of your company and your customers. This digital age has a lot to offer small enterprises and it’s worth exploring it in a careful but open way.
By Indiana Lee, BOSS contributor