5 essential digital skills you need to run your SME » SMEInsider

5 essential digital skills you need to run your SME

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In 2015, every small business should have a digital presence – but some are still dragging their heels.

To help SMEs tackle their “digital blind spot” and become more competitive and agile, we spoke to the digital skills charity Go ON UK. Here’s their top five tips to jump-start your online strategy.

1. Manage your information

It might sound obvious, but knowing how to find, manage and store digital information and content is vital.

Your SME should be able to store digital information on suppliers and customers.  Searching for new suppliers to find the best deals will save your business money and time. Learning how to manage your information will enable you to discover potential growth opportunities for your business. Use security tools when browsing the web; regularly update and run virus checking software and manage parental controls.

2. Communicate

You might be an expert at communicating with clients face-to-face, but digital routes of communication allow you to connect more easily with potential new customers.

Maintaining customer and client relationships is fundamental to running your business, so going digital will open up numerous opportunities. You can improve your customer service by providing accessible product information and answers to FAQs, while social Media can be used as a platform to connect more with customers.

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 3.Take online payments

If you don’t accept online or mobile payments, you may be missing out on a major opportunity. More and more customers expect to be able to pay using digital methods – Statista estimates that $721.4 billion of payments worldwide will be made through mobile devices by 2017. Getting digital transaction systems in place can help ensure that you don’t lose customers to more convenient competitors.

The government can help you with starting up online as you can apply for government business permits and licences. Administration tasks will be easier to complete, as you can manage invoices and accounts from your computer, while your revenue stream will increase steadily due to payment technology.

4. Solve problems

By improving your digital skills, you will have access to problem solving expertise that will save you valuable time and money.

Video conferencing is an invaluable tool that will help you cut down on travelling costs. Online feedback can allow you to discover which products and services work more efficiently.

You can also use simple analytics to gain an insight into who views your website and when. There is already a large community of small businesses online, so take advantage of the internet to gain quick, effective solutions from safe, accurate sources.

5. Be creative

Using the web will allow your business to create useful digital content and engage with your community on a grander scale.

Soon enough your Photoshop skills will be good enough to create some innovative content, such as pictures and logos in order to fully promote your business and leave a lasting image in the mind of your customer. Social Media can bring out your creative side, as by creating communities and forums, you will be able to actively engage with consumers.