Digital Strategies For SMEs

Small Business Canada

Designing and implementing strategy in today’s turbulent digital world is more difficult and complicated. In a competitive environment, where SMEs are constantly seeking emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and capitalizing on data-driven customer preferences, the importance of emerging digital technologies must be embraced. Ignoring the importance of these technologies leads to a reduction in complexity and, as a result, competitors become more capable of imitating and taking a larger chunk of the market share. Thus, fatal neglect is often the result of a lack of a complete strategy that provides the right course of action with adequate analytics for SMEs. This article will outline the main elements of a complete strategy in the digital age to show managers how to develop and implement this effective strategy.

A Formula For Success

Success Factor # 1: Detailed Analysis of the External Environment

This component includes the analysis of the external environment, sometimes referred to as a SWOT analysis. It examines all the trends and changes in the external environment so that the SME can make the best proactive changes. For example, what opportunities and threats does climate change create for your business and how can you prevent potential threats and make the best use of opportunities?

Success Factor # 2: Disseminating Data

After careful analysis of the external environment and recognizing the existing opportunities and threats, SMEs should incorporate all the necessary mechanisms in the form of a business model so that they can prevent threats and make the best use of the opportunities. This business model should be structured in a precise way with a detailed delineation of all tasks, resources, costs, and revenues. An example of this is creating teams in SMEs and creating a flatter organizational chart.

Success Factor # 3: Applying a Clear Tactical Vision

After designing the business model and data dissemination, SMEs should add a clear tactical vision to the strategy by creating a competitive advantage and attracting customers by creating unique value for them in the short term. Creating digital transformation and developing appropriate technology infrastructures with the aim of creating the required complexity. This factor will prevent competitors from imitating and data dodging. 

Success Factor # 4: Applying a Flexible Long-Term Approach

Along with applying a clear tactical visionary approach (usually six months to 2 years out), SMEs should also add a flexible long-term approach (3 to 10 years out) to their strategy to ensure they are identifying the capabilities needed in the future. This long-term approach must be flexible so that the newly required capabilities can be added for unforeseen environmental changes. Gradual changes and tweaking the strategy to better respond to the new conditions of the external environment. 

In Conclusion 

Having a strategy that is complete in the digital era is an important source of competitive advantage for SMEs. The effective design of this strategy will increase the probability of success and may keep SMEs from falling into the abyss of destruction. 

Mostafa Sayyadi

Management Thinker. Consultant. Former Leadership Team Member of San Diego-based The Change Leader Consulting, Inc. Associate Fellow of Australian Institute of Management. Book Author. SHRM’s Best Blog Author. ISE Writer’s Badge Holder, still learning how to be a transformational leader.   

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