How to Start a Business When You Have Limited Technology Literacy
In business, innovation is essential, especially as more businesses move online. However, one of the biggest obstacles for many entrepreneurs is limited technology literacy. But what does it mean to be literate in technology?
Simply put, a digital literate can use information and communication technologies to further their internet-based business. From marketing and hiring to selling and serving customers, technology impacts every aspect of business operation. Yet starting a business in the digital age is still possible with limited knowledge — if you tackle it one step at a time.
Yes, You Do Need a Website (and You Should Pay Someone To Make It for You)
To operate a business in today's digital world, you need to have an online presence. For many business owners, this means designing and creating a website.
Regardless of your industry, it's high time you invest in a site, even if it's a simple one. If you're a DIY kind of business owner, you might be tempted to build your website on your own. However, even the most tech-savvy business owners may overlook critical details when building a website.
Even if it's just a two-page contact and services setup, your website has more moving parts than you may realize. The plug-and-build options provided by some web hosts aren't always as simple to use as you might imagine. Or worse, you begin building a site using a streamlined site builder only to discover you're in way over your head.
If you think it's just not worth investing in a website at all, here are a few reasons that may have you reconsidering that notion:
- Increased site traffic and lead
- Brand visibility and credibility
- Easily accessible information
- Building your reach into e-commerce
- Simplified customer service and contact
- Standing out from the competition
These aren't the only reasons to put your business online, but they're more than enough reasons to invest in a website. If you're a new company, you want to stand out from the time you start so that you don't get lost in the shuffle.
Keep Hiring Experts
That being said, a business is more than just a website. Digital literacy is also critical to several other operational aspects of a business.
If you've ever shopped online, you've experienced digital marketing. You can market digitally in many places on the web, such as on your website through search engine optimization (SEO), in company and product blogs, and on social media. Starting a business requires some sort of digital marketing strategy, and luckily there are plenty of specialists within the field who can help you.
Content marketers and marketing strategists offer more generalized skills too, so figure out what you need at the outset; you don't want to overpay or hire the wrong professional. Hiring a digital marketing expert is certainly a worthwhile investment. You can boost your online presence without becoming a marketing pro yourself.
Working with a digital marketing expert also opens your business up to new opportunities. The best benefit of investing in a pro: you don't have to learn what marketing channels are or how to read site traffic data (unless you want to). Grow your company without having to learn a whole new profession.
Whether you consult a professional or enact a strategy yourself, there are plenty of benefits to increasing your digital marketing efforts, including:
- Better customer knowledge of data and analytics
- Enhanced communication with customers across marketing outlets
- A better understanding of your audience and other potential audiences
- Valuable data on customers, competition, and your business
Of course, you can focus on many aspects of digital marketing for your business. But the most profitable will most likely be social media.
If you're going to invest in social media, you need a social media marketer. Social media marketing may involve content creation and account management. It may even extend to community engagement.
Although this may sound like a lot of work, there are plenty of benefits to developing your social media marketing skills:
- Establishing a clear brand voice
- Nurturing a community on a budget
- Connecting with potential buyers more easily
- Discovering competitors' products, goals, etc.
- Unveiling customer buying behaviors
- Promoting new products and services
While other forms of digital marketing offer a broad approach, social media emphasizes engagement and interaction.
Even if you maintain a minimal online presence on one or two social media channels, an expert can tell you which ones are best for connecting with customers, building leads, and expanding your online presence overall.
Order fulfillment is a time-consuming aspect of any goods-based business. When you're selling products, customers want their orders in a timely fashion. If you take too long packaging or processing, you can lose valuable dollars. Your business operations suffer without streamlined order fulfillment processes.
Improving your business operations begins with evaluating your existing business processes. New technology has improved the customer experience overall. Using tech solutions for e-commerce purchases can simplify ordering, returns, packaging, and more. All of these details still require technology literacy, which means relying on a pro (or at least professional-grade tech solutions).
You may be able to DIY the forming of your business. But to choose the right form, you need legal expertise. And whatever your industry, you most likely will want legal help in getting permits, licenses, and generally complying with the law as you launch your business. No business launch is the same, especially as new digital advances complicate the business environment, so contact an attorney to cover all your bases in advance.
And if you haven't already assessed new liabilities and risks for your new business, an experienced attorney can help you with these important considerations as well. Business liability and insurance can make or break a new business. Without the proper legal insight, you might doom your business before it ever becomes financially successful.
Branding and Incorporation
With any kind of increased digital presence, your business will most likely run into branding issues. Despite common misconceptions, branding and digital marketing are not the same.
Branding is a tool and specialty within marketing, meaning you can't have one without the other. But both require specific expertise and a lot of creativity.
Effective branding requires skills and expertise, so you may benefit from hiring a branding expert. They can help you with the following:
- Choosing a business name
- Various logo designs
- Messaging and brand voice
- Custom colors and fonts
The idea is to stand out distinctly and memorably while staying true to your offerings and values. An authentic and consistent brand builds trust, authority, and credibility with consumers.
Drafting a Business Plan
If you've never started a business before, you may have no idea what it takes to plan for one. Creating a business plan is a formidable task even for experienced business owners.
Hiring a professional saves you valuable time and effort. It means you can plan for costly expenses and budget for hiring some of the digitally literate experts you need. The details won't be overlooked with the right expert, which will help secure your new business's future.
Learn From Those Experts
Even the best, most experienced business owners hire experts. You do not need to try to become a thought leader in technology literacy. Professionals can connect you with valuable learning opportunities.
Discover new ways to develop your business by conversing with these experts. And cultivating strong relationships with these and other like-minded professionals will help you develop your own skills and technology literacy. You will understand your business operations better.