The whole of the changes experienced within a period of time is called change. Thanks to the change, which can be called the transition of the current situation to a different situation, innovation, that is, opportunities to make a difference, are also obtained. In this context, the advantage of change and making a difference for SMEs in every sector such as manufacturing, service, import, and export in our country can be achieved through digitalization. For this reason, many different steps can be taken to create digital transformation for SMEs.
Today, many different licensed software and programs that provide electronic use are offered for SMEs in terms of achieving change across Europe. Software that will enable digital transformation is offered for purposes such as human resources management, customer relationship management, and enterprise resource planning. Especially SMEs that want to open up to the outside world and reach more people and achieve development towards a larger business should definitely give importance to customer relations in the context of digital transformation.
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Why should SMEs take a digital step?
Small and medium-sized enterprises must first keep up with digital transformation in order to realize change. In this context, SME digital transformation steps can be understood more easily if industrial revolutions are considered first. For example, the age of mechanization that emerged with the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century created a new change with the Second Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century. In the Second Industrial Revolution, the logic of mass production emerged.
In the third quarter of the century, automation, especially in industry, helped to use many different resources more efficiently and the 3rd Industrial Revolution was realized. Today, with the realization of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the concept of Industry 4.0 and the concept of digital transformation have emerged. In the context of this approach, the use of information communication technologies in many different areas, starting with production, has been encountered.
In the first stage of the important steps in the realization of digital transformation, data was generated with sensor technology and then this data was collected with the Internet of Things. Then, with cloud computing technologies, the opportunity to share data emerged and with big data technologies, opportunities to analyze data emerged. In advancing technology, artificial intelligence has created a decision-making mechanism and digital transformation has provided an advantage such as value creation.
In earlier periods, the digital transformation took its first steps thanks to the internet and mobilization, while mobile phones and smartphones, for example, were seen as very important steps in this context. Today, while smart devices have changed people’s lifestyles, people have made the transition from being part of the majority to individuality. In this context, trade has also changed for businesses and customer experience has become a very important concept. For this reason, the digitalization of SMEs has become one of the most important points.
For example, in the past, a customer who wanted to buy a car would go to a car dealership, examine the models and catalogs, make a decision, and proceed to the bargaining stage. Today, when customers want to buy a vehicle, they take into account the data, comments on the internet, and the relationships established by companies with customers. For this reason, an SME that has kept up with the digital age will have the opportunity to achieve a more utilitarian and greater development thanks to the software it uses and the opportunities it offers for its customers.
Today, all small or large businesses around the world have started to keep up with the digital transformation that emerged with the 4th Industrial Revolution and to take digital steps in process management. In this context in our country, especially SMEs that revitalize the economy and increase employment should definitely take digitalization steps.
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Digital Strategies in SMEs
Today, the majority of enterprises in Europe are SMEs. SMEs also account for more than half of the employment in the private sector in Europe. In this context, in any sector in Europe, SMEs are seen as businesses that give life to the economy, as well as businesses that are more intertwined with customers, easily analyze needs, make instant decisions and are seen as innovative businesses.
SMEs can make a difference by choosing digital methods at the first point they start their activities. In this way, the SME, which uses the gaps that arise due to large companies, can seize an important opportunity, especially with the movement it realizes on a local basis. For this reason, stepping into the digital world is of great importance for SMEs. In this context, many different solution needs arise.
In terms of SMEs developing digital strategies;
- First of all, establishing a good relationship with its customers,
- Transition to electronic commerce systems,
- Realizing logistics, inventory and accounting systems electronically,
- They need to use systems such as electronic invoices.
These businesses, which are much smaller in size than large enterprises, also have the advantage of making changes quickly. While large enterprises usually realize the first stage work in processes such as one or a few years and make the transition to the digital world, SMEs have the chance to develop a digital strategy by making decisions very quickly. Because SMEs can enter the global world very strongly by adding the additional systems they need after transferring the systems they use as a whole to the digital system. Businesses integrated into the new world can reach a more efficient position and achieve practical results.
Recommendations for SMEs new to digital
By taking into account the changing profile of staff, customers, and the world market, SMEs can avoid many harmful effects. Because SMEs that accept digital transformation instead of being left out of the market, shrinking, and becoming one of the forgotten businesses can achieve greater success by taking this opportunity. However, SMEs that want to switch to digital systems today may also face many different challenges.
In general, there are many different points that every SME that wants to transition to the digital world should pay attention to. These include;
- Giving up a limited market,
- Seeing that trade is not bound by borders, space, and time,
- Being active in digital branding,
- Getting rid of management processes in traditional marketing and advertising strategies,
- Keeping pace with today’s changes,
- Realizing the power and capacity it has.
For example, you do not necessarily have to work with an agency or communications department to strengthen brand management and image and achieve better results. With a small change within the business, it may even be sufficient to employ a customer representative in terms of brand management or a brand manager in the position where the customer representative is located.
While performing brand management, you should first be corporate in terms of good process management, and after analyzing your products, sector, and shares, you should conduct competitor analysis. Then, considering integrated marketing strategies, you should choose methods such as determining and analyzing a digital progress plan and taking advantage of software opportunities for SMEs.
Basically, digital marketing has a very important place, especially for SMEs. Because thanks to digital marketing, you can reach people not only in your local area but also in a much wider region, making the process of becoming a bigger business reality in the shorter term. As an example, you can consider many different suggestions and industry experiences for digital marketing.
Today, it is possible to perform many different operations very easily thanks to SME software that creates practical uses in a licensed way and takes every business to the next level. In this context, one of the systems that provide advantages for you is digital marketing systems. SMEs can achieve much stronger results when they spread to a much wider area, provide digital marketing and use social media in the best way.
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Today, no matter which sector they are in, SMEs are obliged to allocate a significant budget for digital marketing within their marketing processes. This is because outdoor advertisements, television or newspaper advertisements can create high costs for small and medium-sized businesses. However, actively participating in social media or on the internet can generate much bigger profits.
In this context, especially when digital marketing is preferred in digitalization processes, SMEs should take care to be absolutely corporate, original, continuous and up-to-date. Especially in environments such as social media, companies that fully apply these rules can achieve a successful result. Today, however, many SMEs miss customers because they use social media unconsciously and do not even keep their web pages up to date. At the point of digital marketing;
- Establishing an integrated marketing strategy,
- Paying attention to feedback,
- Keeping good communication,
- Creating content in a continuous and original way,
- Points such as providing creative campaigns are among the most important marketing recommendations.
Considering the other steps of digitalization, you can gain advantages thanks to digital supports in terms of many different steps such as accounting, pre-accounting, invoice creation, human resources management, and inventory management. In this respect, for example, you can use systems that provide digitalization in a very wide scope through the use of enterprise resource planning, i.e. ERP software, and offer opportunities such as reporting thanks to the database.
In general terms, you can also get consultancy services by meeting with the points that provide software support to SMEs in terms of suggestions that can be made for you in the world of digitalization. Thanks to this consultancy, you can manage sales and distribution channels more effectively in an increasingly competitive and changing market, and reach a more profitable and efficient level. You can use software developed specifically for you and get benefits.