Why small businesses must ditch the digital fear

Oct 27, 2021

We’re often reminded that today’s big digital businesses started small. But not every mini and mighty outfit has ambitions to reach enterprise status, grow regionally or become a global giant.

What is unanimous is the fact that life is hard for small businesses. Against this backdrop, realising the ambition to become a genuinely digital entity can seem daunting. But it shouldn’t.

Retaining what small businesses are famed for – providing outstanding customer service with a personal touch – is undoubtedly a key challenge in the digital age. Increased competition, aggressive pricing models from larger rivals, and difficult market conditions being just a few of the sizeable obstacles. At the same time, staff are making demands of their own. The loudest of these is the call for empowering workplace technology that gives them the option to work more flexibly.

Research commissioned by Ricoh Europe reveals that one-in-four small business workers is considering a move to somewhere better equipped for remote working. This needs to act as a wake-up call to small business owners who are reluctant to embrace the opportunities of the digital age.

But there is good news. The majority of Europe’s small businesses don’t need a complete technology overhaul. Relatively modest and incremental improvements, such as providing staff with remote access to files and allowing automation to do the heavy lifting (thus removing cumbersome tasks from the workload in favour of more rewarding activities) can have a real impact. This not only serves to aid overall efficiency and productivity but goes a long way to helping inspire and retain top talent. It’s a simple enough formula: empower employees with the technology and systems to provide a faster, more accessible, and modern service equals increased competitiveness.

Small business owners have weathered countless storms over the years – none more colossal than that brought about by the pandemic.

Trials or short-term agreements give small business owners peace of mind to pursue a more digital path without the fear of being trapped in lengthy contracts or stuck with a solution that just isn’t fit for purpose.

There is a huge opportunity for small businesses right now. The trick is to block out the hype and rhetoric from over-promising (and often pushy) providers. In a business world with no shortage of promise and promotion, owners need to see through the fog to a clear digital path ahead. It’s a lot easier to make that journey when taking measurable and smart steps with truly empowered staff leading the way.

Read the full blog from Richard Mills, CEO Ricoh Europe here