Am I digitally fit? An introduction for small business owners

Between gasps for air as I was punch my way through the heavy bag held by my boxing coach, the discussion inevitably shifts to the working portion of our lives, and the intersections of our respective working worlds; the challenges of attracting and retaining interested customers and the accessible, ever growing world of digital and social media.

To say Stevie (my coach) like many small business entrepreneurs ‘understands the importance of digital and social media channels’ is like stating ‘the everyday person (me) now understands the importance of diet and exercise’, a modern-day cliché.

Options abound for diet, exercise, and lifestyle. The gym and fitness club market is worth over $1B in Australia alone, (and that doesn’t include FMCG and the growing meal service industry). Knowing where to start, what, where and when to eat and exercise, what works best for ‘me as an individual’ and building a realistic plan around this can be a complex undertaking. You could pay trainers, dieticians and consultants to set the path, alternatively research and manage your own journey or blend the approach to fit your time and financial budgets. Ultimately, finding success will be different for everyone but requires understanding of your goals, discipline, and a deliberate and sustained approach to integrating your health and fitness plan to your daily life.

In my youth, I played representative basketball and rugby; these days, like many people, I struggle with my fitness (getting to and maintaining a ‘healthy’ weight, for me specifically). Through injury, an enjoyable but at times Hedonistic lifestyle and a somewhat sedentary occupation, I lost my way. I have been an athlete, had access to professional coaches and trainers, even briefly studied physical education early in my university career. What works best for me? Working with a trainer (or two) and building my own additional programs around this, (quantity, manageable for me, supplemented by quality support from some experts I trust).

The same can be said for digital as it applies to small (or any) business. If you are anything like me, every day, you are engaging with small business owners; buying a coffee, having a chat with a fellow dog owner at the local dog park, or sweating it out in the gym. When I talk about the businesses I am work with, these entrepreneurs are the owner/operators, one man bands, and micro teams that are facing similar challenges:

  • “I need a website but to don't know where to start”

  • “I have a web presence, but I don't have the budget or time to make regular updates”

  • “I struggle with how to engage with my customers/audience, should I be doing Facebook, a blog, Twitter, snapchat…. Or all of them, who has time for that!”

  • “When should I pay for Advertising on Google, Facebook, Bing?”

  • “How do I get more customers, followers or a bigger audience?”

  • “What should my content focus on?”

  • “How do I know my efforts are worthwhile?”

Big data is all around us, and there are more options than ever to enable the SMB space. Many of these options target the Medium size business and the smaller operator can find entry difficult due to cost, resource, ability and associated complexity. Whether you are trying to navigate digital by yourself or working with an agency or consultant over the next few weeks I’ll be discussing some techniques to develop your digital and social “fitness” plan. Defining your goals, where and how to start (or focus), deliberate digital to create meaningful and efficient conversations (online), data and tracking your progress for success.

Next week: Chapter 1 – Information overload! The digital landscape and the SME business was owner.

#smallbusinessstrategy #digitalmedia #socialmedia