Need Inspiration To Go Digital? Read This!

Christine Mykota

Small businesses often struggle to link their use of personal and business technology. For example, while upwards of 85 percent of SMB employees use smartphones daily at work, more than half of the small- and medium-sized business websites in the United States are not optimized for mobile traffic. This is especially shocking when you consider the fact that 2015 was the first year that mobile search surpassed desktop search.

Despite widespread good intentions, many small businesses are just slow to adopt modern technologies. Unfortunately, this has a negative impact on their well-being and success down the road. While it’s possible for companies to scrape by without technology for a while, the need to adopt it ultimately becomes unbearable, and the companies that are lagging behind find themselves struggling to catch up.

Alas, those who waited failed

Over time, both large companies and small businesses that were reluctant to embrace technology have headed to disaster. For example, while Kodak used to be a leader in analog film production, the company failed to adopt digital technology and got left behind as its industry evolved.

Three of Kodak’s greatest misses include being too slow to develop digital cameras, failing to understand how customers wanted to interact with photo content, and refusing to capitalize on the photo-sharing trend that made companies like Instagram famous. Thanks to its unwillingness to embrace new technologies, even in the face of a market that demanded them, Kodak announced bankruptcy in 2012.

A good example of a small business that failed to keep up with technology—and paid dearly for it—is Nick’s Famous Roast Beef. Located in Boston, this much-loved local pit stop operated for 40 years as a cash-only company. Despite the fact that technology-based payment methods like Square and Apple Pay have become increasingly popular in recent years, Nick’s resisted adopting any of these convenient technologies.

Unfortunately, the owners of Nick’s were recently pinned with charges of tax fraud. If the restaurant wants to rebuild in the future, there will be a huge level of time and expense paid out to rectify the mistakes that came from refusing to embrace technology in the early days of the business.

Complacency won’t hold you back!

The primary reason that small businesses don’t adopt technology is that they believe that things are “fine the way they are.” Unfortunately, this approach often ends in disaster. By refusing to embrace technological advancements early, SMBs virtually sign themselves up for a struggle later. As companies that have embraced technology grow and become successful, tech-free SMBs will find themselves spending a great deal of time and money to keep pace. Because of this, it’s critical for small companies to learn what technology can do for them from the very beginning in order to avoid playing catch-up in the end.

For more on digital transformation strategies for small business, see 3 Digital Transformation Fundamentals Every Small And Midsize Business CFO Should Know.

About Christine Mykota

Christine is a Sr. Director, Marketing, Global Channels and General Business at SAP where she leads the Digital and Social Media strategy for SMB and partners in NA. She has over 25 years in marketing beginning her career in international busines, s consulting to SMB's helping them expand their markets around the globe. She has also taught at colleges and universities in Canada,Malaysia, Kyghystan and Ukraine. She has led various workshops on strategic planning, marketing research and entrepreneurship. She has contributed to 5 international business publications and was one of five Canadians awarded for her international work. She has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs secure funds for their ventures as well as fine tune their business plans. Christine began her career in software over 15 years ago with companies large and small such as Autodesk, Business Objects and SAP and rising stars. She has worked with many Fortune 500 companies, many of which are partners of SAP. In her spare time she has many passions both active and creative.