Digital-First Benefits for Small Businesses

February 20, 2024

Digital First Blog

Most, if not all, businesses were forced to reimagine their operations in order to survive disruptions during the pandemic. Those that were already highly digitally dexterous before the crisis were able to super-pivot in ways that gave new meaning to the old adage: “The customer is king.” Others had a much harder time adapting with agility to the realities of our mercurial digital world.

What is digital-first?

Being a digital-first business means having a deep awareness, understanding and knowledge of your ideal customers and aligning your internal processes with modern technology to engage, acquire and serve them digitally. It recognizes that buyer demands, needs and expectations are constantly evolving, and companies must be in tune with this evolution to meet them where they are and where they’re going. And these coveted buyer journeys are increasingly almost completely digital.

This alignment of digital buyers and internal processes is certainly proving to be a smart business strategy. In fact, according to McKinsey:

  • The digitization of customer interactions and internal operations has hastened by three-four years, and digitally-enabled products have accelerated by seven years; and
  • Digital-first businesses tend to achieve greater productivity and growth. They have a 30% increase in customer satisfaction, a 20% improvement in employee satisfaction, and overall economic gain.

The road to digital-first success is paved with data

Digital-first companies have rich data and knowledge of all the digital touchpoints their audience has with their business and are able to engage in any buyer-preferred channel to consistently make data-informed decisions and deliver superior digital experiences.

Providing maximum customer value requires an integrated digital ecosystem (website, CRM, call data, marketing automation, chatbot, etc.) or infrastructure that enables the seamless connection of legacy and new applications that share data, information and processes.

What’s in it for you?

The power of a digital-first strategy stems from its significant benefits, particularly for small businesses, including:

  • Greater operational efficiency – While all businesses can benefit from gaining operational efficiencies, small businesses especially can capitalize from these to save precious time and money with limited resources. Digitizing workflows and processes through automation reduces manual errors, risks and costs while improving efficiency and productivity by speeding up the accuracy and completion of everyday tasks. This frees up time to focus on value-creation initiatives driven by human interactions.
  • Better buyer experiences – PwC reports nearly 80% of American buyers say that speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service are the most important elements of a positive customer experience. When buyer expectations are understood and met or exceeded, digital experiences powered by cloud-based digital technologies levels the playing field for orchestrating and guiding their paths to your business.
  • Digital-friendly innovation – By constantly challenging the status quo through brainstorming, experimenting and testing new ideas with a digital-first mindset for solving problems and value creation, the easier and quicker it will be for your businesses to adopt new technology as it emerges.

Start simple and be nimble

As with most things in life, in order to bring simplicity in, we must take complexity out. The beauty of digital-first is that it can be done in smaller incremental steps. Remember, digital-first does not mean technology-first. So, be laser-focused on what matters most for better customer outcomes in terms of problems solved, friction eliminated, needs met, and goals achieved to create your very own syllabus of simplicity. Then, select the enabling technology that can best get the job done with the scalability, flexibility and alacrity that your business requires for continued success while dealing with unexpected challenges.

Being nimble – the ability to act, think or respond with agility, is the superpower of progressive small businesses. Be laser focused on the unique aspects of your business where meaningful customer value can be created today and how it may shift over time (future-proofing).

Adapting to evolutionary market shifts quickly, flexibly and seamlessly is the order of today’s digital economy. When you proactively lock in on exceptional buyer experiences at the core of your digital-first strategy, your business will be rewarded with opportunities to build enduring customer relationships, win new business and differentiate yourself from the competition – regardless of the inevitable future disruptions!

Michael Mathé
Chief Operating Officer

As Chief Operating Officer at Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc., Michael Mathé leads the teams driving the company’s digital transformation initiatives, including operations, production print, marketing, e-commerce and emerging technologies. With 30 years of industry experience, he has a proven track record in global business performance, acquisitions, expansion and accelerating sustainable revenue growth utilizing sound turnaround leadership. He is responsible for Konica Minolta’s OEM business development and IT value-added reseller (VAR) Channel and also oversees its Motorsports Strategic Marketing and Alliance Program. Michael started his career with Konica Minolta in 2012 as Senior Vice President, International Sales and was promoted to President in March of 2021. Prior to joining Konica Minolta he served as Vice President and General Manager, International Division at Toshiba America Business Solutions. Mathé has also held positions at Lanier Worldwide Inc., Riso, Inc. and Complete Business Systems (an Ikon Company) working in the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Brazil, Central and South America and the Caribbean in positions ranging from general management, sales, marketing, advertising, operation and training. He is known as an engaging, agile leader with sound analytical abilities resulting in action oriented strategic plans, data driven performance and profitable turnaround and transformation. Mathé is a Digital Transformation Global Leader at Konica Minolta, and was previously a member of the Global Board of Directors for MGI Digital Technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina and is fluent in Spanish, French, Portuguese and English.