The ABCs of giving your business a digital identity

The ABCs of giving your business a digital identity


Published in :
Business strategies
Published on 22 May 2019
Reading: 3 minutes

The ABCs of giving your business a digital identity

Thinking of creating a digital presence for your business? This transition will have a considerable impact on your SME, so a well developed strategic and operational plan is key. Sophie Robillard, Senior Business Advisor for Inno-Centre, shares her experience to help you get off on the right foot. 

Sophie Robillard, former Digital Transformation Leader for Yellow Pages, points out the importance of planning a seamless transition for your new digital identity, all while taking into account your company’s capacities. “SMEs are often late joining the online game. And yet, going digital means diving into a “4.0 industry” and benefitting from all the advantages it has to offer,” explains Robillard.  

Online sales are a great way for SMEs to grow their business internationally: “Working with digital is often essential if you want to stay competitive.” However, this transition can require numerous changes at every level of your company: human resources, purchasing, research and development, marketing, production, finances, etc. “Do you have what it takes to support this transition to digital?” questions digital expert Robillard, before sharing her three key steps to success.     

1) Who are we? 

First things first: you need to assess your situation and know where you stand before taking a giant leap. How is your company’s current digital performance? While you contemplate, also take into account industry trends, and identify your competition, and what exactly they’re doing to stay relevant. “It used to be that an SME would only consider other companies competitors if they were both physically located within the same municipality,” points out Robillard. In the digital age, that’s no longer the case, and one needs only consider American giant Amazon to realize that the competition can be located anywhere in the world, thanks to online presence. 

“Entrepreneurs tend to be focused on their own products and daily activities. However, they need to understand that developing a new sales channel will directly affect every aspect of their business,” explains Robillard. The latter is why it’s so important to evaluate point A before heading towards point B! 

2) Where are we going?

Entrepreneurs need to think ahead, and consider their overall business goals. “We recommend a three-year vision over 36-months, and putting yourself in the shoes of a potential new client,” explains Robillard. The secret to any successful transition is to know and understand your clientele. “Entrepreneurs need to be familiar with market trends and customer demands. In order to meet consumer need, an entrepreneur needs to first think like a consumer,” advises our guest expert.

Other things to consider along the way: “Is your current logo adapted for the Internet, for sales that occur outside your traditional platform?” questions Robillard. Another key consideration is whether or not your distributors will be upset about losing volume to online sales. What repercussions will this have on your business relationships? “You want to avoid cannibalizing your sales at all costs; the goal is to generate more revenue, not lose it.”   



3) How do we get there?  

This is where your tactical idea is transformed into a strategic plan. What steps do you need to take in order to bring your vision to life? Evidently, investments are required. “Inno-Centre can help you come up with a digital identity transformation plan that meets your needs,” points out Robillard. 

A good place to start is to issue a call for tenders in order to select a digital solutions firm. “Hiring a digital firm will really help grow your online presence,” explains Robillard. Once you’ve settled on a digital partner, you’ll want to start considering other aspects of your business: “Eventually, you might want to implement a CRM, or hire an IT advisor,” says Robillard. No matter what you choose to do, you’ll quickly see how a digital presence can positively impact your revenue. “The more prepared you are, the more successful your transition will be,” concludes Robillard.   


Six operational drivers to consider when transitioning to digital  

  • Strategies and brand image: Consider the possibility of a partnership, acquisition, or reassessment of your brand positioning.

  • Value proposition: Assess your current products and services, as well as the customer experience you wish to offer.

  • Sales and service channels: In what ways (representatives, physical shops, online platforms) will this value proposition be available to customers?

  • Procedures: How should procedures be implemented and applied to optimize your digital transition?

  • Culture and organisation: Can training and clearer communication help your SME perform better?

  • Technology: What tools and technology are required to support your digital transition plan?