Living in the digital revolution – Part 2

We’re living in a digital revolution.

Why not take advantage of the shift and pursue the potential cost savings and increase in profit that can come with digitization? After all, there’s no escaping the new industrial revolution, says the Business Development Bank of Canada.

Previously, we covered how the past three industrial revolutions changed the way business was done throughout the world.

Today, the message from the federal bank is clear: adopt or suffer.

“Our study indicates adopters of digital technology tend to forecast a much brighter future than non-adopters do,” says BDC. “Indeed, digital adopters in our survey were almost twice as likely as non-adopters to predict annual revenue growth of 10 per cent or more over the next three years…

“Digital transformation gives manufacturers a new lease on life.”

Accepting and adapting to changes in the marketplace adds value to your business when you decide to sell. Potential for growth is one of the things we encourage our interested buyers to look for in their investment.

The first step to capitalizing on digitization is soul searching.

Think about what your customers really want. These days, there is a big demand for products that allow people to be more efficient and enjoy their lives more fully – products that bring inherent value.

Once you have a grasp of what your customers need, think about how to harness digital technology in a way that increases the value of your business, like enhancing the delivery experience, making your products more accessible or increasing your company’s digital reach.

People are willing to pay a premium for those assets, says BDC.

Planning is the next step. Be strategic when mapping out the way technology – such as social media, cellphone apps or improvements to your systems – can make you more competitive.

Plan out long-term impacts, too. Do employees need more training? Will you have to hire more staff? What is your yearly budget for improvements?

Current employees should be empowered and well trained to embrace the changes and thrive. New employees should have the necessary digital skills or have a proven ability to adapt.

“It’s critical to find and retain talented employees, especially in the digital age. As our survey shows, access to skilled employees is the main challenge facing technology adopters.”

Expect some resistance internally. Keeping employees involved from the start and stressing why it’s important to the success of the company can limit fear and increase understanding.

At first, changes may be overwhelming, but adapting over time through small projects has been a strategy used successfully by some businesses.

“An early win on a pilot project will help demonstrate the value of digitization to you and your team,” says BDC.

“If you’ve so far made only limited investments in technology, start with a small pilot project.”

As we’ve seen from past industrial revolutions, failure to adapt can stunt growth – and in worst cases, force closure.

It’s a competitive world. If you haven’t started yet, what are you waiting for?

For experienced advice, contact Business Finders Canada now at 1-888-377-8009.

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