What are the SMB Digital's guiding principles for Digital Enablement?

For old school businesses with outdated technology, we generally pursue the following process for evolving your information technology capabilities. We might start with one area of the business that represents the biggest opportunity or growth constraint, and fix it from start-through-sustainment before tackling the next one.

  1. Get all your company information - data, processes, lists, procedures, instructions, etc - that can be digitized, digitized.

  2. Get all digitized information into some form of cloud storage or software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution so that it is searchable, real-time, and accessible from anywhere.

  3. Get everything that's in your cloud structured into tabular data (to the greatest extent practical). Information that is not stored in database-style tables should at least be hyperlinked and accessible from such tables. At this stage, thoughtful database design is of critical importance because it lays the groundwork for what is possible when it comes time to build useful productivity and decision-making tools and automations.

  4. Create data access interfaces for viewing and editing all the data in the company and carefully provision the access to users whose jobs could be done more efficiently and effectively with more and better information at their fingertips.

  5. Build workflows and automations around the data to automate process steps, error-checking, operational issue identification and prioritization, and business reporting. Create the ability for management to see and drill down into everything going on at the appropriate frequency and level-of-detail.

  6. Run processes with the new tools and continuously improve, re-document, and train staff, frequently revisiting step 3 and keep going!

Some of these steps, especially the early ones, can be grouped together and done all at once to drive faster progress.

What is a tech stack?

Your tech stack is the (increasingly massive!) set of software, digital services and tools you use to run everything in your business that functions in the digital realm. Even the simplest, most manual, stone-age, offline business imaginable will have a tech stack. It's just a bunch of systems and processes either organized or run in computers. From DNS to hosting, email to spreadsheets, word processing to telephony, accounting to file storage- the farther you go into digital modernization, the more tools you will accumulate and the more mission critical it becomes to be strategic, organized, and integrated in your approach to your tech stack.

Why would I work with someone like SMB Digital?

We are small business technology experts: it's all we do. We are able to provide small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) who lack a dedicated IT department with a single locus of trust for all things IT administration.

Instead of having individual employees administering different systems on an ad hoc basis, we

We apply our knowledge of the universe of small business technology platforms and tools to our clients and ensure they have an efficient setup

How do most SMB owners run their tech stack?

Most SMB owners self-administer most of their tools and cobble together systems and processes as they go. Different employees administer and have varying access levels and exposure to different systems in the company. Some tools may have a vendor using them.

What's wrong with self-administering our own tech?

Most SMB owners self-administer most of their tools. Employees cobble together these tools into systems and processes as they go. Sounds fine and it can work, but its a mess to keep track of. Mission critical knowledge and processes get trapped in the minds of individual employees creating single points of failure. Plus, this ad hoc methodology creates wasteful tool proliferation and a disorganized mess of systems and processes,

Why start with marketing?

Marketing is an area we like to start our engagements for several reasons. First, every business needs it, especially businesses with ambitions to grow. Second, it's fairly easy to assess, and the benefits of improving it can materialize very quickly. Third, marketing is almost always online already, so we can do assessments and deploy improvements inexpensively and quickly. It's a great starting point for us to get to know the business and build a relationship where we'll each get to see how the other thinks and works.

Learned enough that you at least want to give this a try?