The term “audit” can feel scary and unapproachable, but when it comes to your business, it’s a necessary step for moving the company forward. You might have performed marketing audits or operational audits before, but shining the light on your technology is a whole different story.
You see, technology is always evolving. If you don’t keep up with it, you’ll likely fall behind and lose touch with modern tech. Just like your phone needs regular software updates, your business also needs a tune-up every now and then to ensure you’re in good digital standing.
A streamlined digital environment is particularly important this year as businesses will have to face recovery efforts in the wake of the pandemic. Technology was already seeing extraordinary growth prior to COVID-19 and, thanks to stay-at-home orders, the consumers of today’s market are increasingly tech-dependent. Virtual solutions abounded as people’s habits shifted and companies sent employees home to work remotely.
Going forward, there simply is no excuse for falling behind in the digital world. Companies must embrace virtual tools in order to build back stronger after the pandemic, and it all starts with an audit. Follow these steps to assess your current tech and make a plan to grow in 2021.
Review where you currently stand.
You might be eager to see all of the digital tools available for trial, but you need to first start by looking at all of the tech you have in place — as well as the areas that are sorely in need of help. Set some time aside to sit down and take a hard look at how your business is functioning.
Consider the different aspects of your business, from sales to client communications to event production. Do you have a invoicing tool that helps you stay organized? Has social media become a burden without an efficient solution? As you review your workflows, you’ll start to see gaps that could be filled with a new app or program. Write down these areas and note the ideal features that would simplify your life.
Focus on the client experience.
Today’s client doesn’t just like technology; they expect it. They’re accustomed to doing virtually everything from pocket-sized devices and they’ll look to your business to meet them on their screens. That’s not to say you need to replace every in-person meeting with a video call, but it’s important to provide clients with digital options for every step of the process, from electronic contracts and online payments to convenient channels for communication and collaboration.
Before diving in headfirst, think about your target market and what they would value most. Corporate clients may be more inclined to communicate by email whereas young couples may prefer texting or instant messaging. Evaluate each of your touchpoints to determine if there is a way to harness technology for a more efficient and enhanced client experience.
Ease into the transition.
Once you’ve got a game plan to upgrade your tech, you might be eager to sign up for every trial that you see. Avoid getting click-happy with new tools, as that’s the quickest way to overwhelm yourself and give up. Start small, focusing on one or two areas to optimize.
Research your options and be sure to read the reviews for each. Past and current users will provide you with unbiased opinions that can influence your final decision. On the same note, you may consider reaching out to your industry peers for recommendations (and even a referral code or two), as they may share with you solutions that you haven’t yet come across.
While you may have gotten away with old-fashioned techniques in the past, the pandemic has brought to light the importance of virtual solutions that can support collaboration with clients, colleagues, and employees. A regular digital audit will help you to stay on top of the latest tech so your brand maintains its role in today’s contemporary market.
Nora Sheils is the co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, the first software platform to bring together wedding planners, couples, and vendors into one system for managing and paying contracts and invoices. She is also the founder and lead wedding planner of award-winning firm Bridal Bliss. She was recently recognized by Portland Business Journal in its 40 Under 40 series.