The past couple of years have seen digital transformation at accelerated speeds. Adopting advancements in technology has become many businesses’ biggest asset in their survival. vcita’s CMO, Adi Engel, who has been in close connection with small businesses for over 10 years, has a lot of insights on digital transformation of SMEs, and further, about how digital payments can be the gateway to bridging the digital gap.
Digital tools are essential for small business success
Offering digital tools is a major step in helping SMEs become more effective and better serve their customers. Through using digital tools, SMEs can save time on administrative tasks and focus more on providing great client experiences.
In addition, offering services and the opportunity to engage with them online is an effective way for SMEs to support their customers, as these days it is the preferred method.
Time saved is not the only value in adopting digital tools for a business, as Adi Engel says “it’s also an effective way for SMEs to create a record of their business presence and prove their existence to potential supporters”. Digital tools assist from a regulatory perspective. Each year, countless numbers of SMEs are rejected from loans that could save them, due to insufficient documentation or records of their business operations. Using digital tools automatically allows for an SME to verify its own presence by having organized records that are accessible at all times.
The use of digital tools also helps futureproof an SME. “Opting into using technology shows that psychologically, an SME is striving to improve itself, which means it is worthwhile to support the business financially. This is a huge consideration for banks and other bodies that offer financial support for SMEs, especially considering the risk the SME industry proves for those same banks,” says Engel.
Digital solutions need to be more inclusive
The thought of digital transformation is, for many SMEs, a far fetched future that is quite difficult to attain. “There’s too much information and too many products competing for the attention of SMEs these days, and not all ideas of “going digital” are alike,” Adi Engel says. Given the unique nature of each business and each business owner, it is difficult to tailor solutions and digital tools to ensure the maximum effect for each profession. Each SME owner has a different skill set, training and experience, and “digital solutions need to allow for more widespread adoption by knowing each SMEs’ needs, and not generalizing the term ‘going digital’”.
Digital payments as the gateway to digital transformation
A business starts being considered as one the moment it starts accepting payments in exchange for a service or product. Payments are the bottom line but also could be the first line in digital transformation. When a business can accept payments digitally, it can also deal well with other digital aspects of the business. “You don’t need to be a social media guru in order to go digital,” says Adi, “digital transformation can happen by way of starting with payments, and then expanding to offer more services digitally”.
Banks pushing digital payments help small businesses win
Banks and financial institutions offering banking services should put digital payments at the forefront of their agenda. “They have all the necessary resources to help push digital payments in the SME industry and are perfectly positioned to do so”, says Engel.
From having the proper infrastructure and the widespread reach, small businesses need banks’ support in digital payments in order to begin their digital transformation. And the industry is ready for it; consumers are already accustomed to getting a variety of options when it comes to payments. Banks that support small businesses with digital payment solutions and beyond help them to remain competitive in a digital-first environment and continue to serve their customers as well as their communities.
SMEs gain big from partnerships
In their journey towards small business digitalization, SMEs’ needs must be at the core of the agenda in order to fully realize the digital era’s potential. “SMEs need to be put center stage. Everyone has an agenda, but being able to put the needs of SMEs first and loosening up on rigid expectations, which are designed for the bigger brands, is the name of the game,” Adi says.
As micro and small business owners prepare for their digital transformation, it is important they continue to get the support they deserve, being the backbone of local communities’ economy, in order to allow them to continue to support their communities. vcita helps SMEs in their journey towards digitalization by providing the necessary digital tools to boost small businesses’ overall efficiency. vcita’s strategic partnerships are built upon a shared vision and goal of helping micro and small businesses thrive by creating long-lasting customer engagements.
If you’re interested to learn more, join Adi during upcoming CEE21 SME Banking Club Conference on November 25.
❗Online participation is free of charge. Please register to get access here