In today’s fast-paced business world, it’s no secret that digitisation has become a vital tool for any successful entrepreneur or professional, writes Nicole Sykes; Head: Women in Business Niche, FNB Business. While this is true for any business owner, manager, or leader, the power of digital plays strongly into the hands of women in these positions because of the unique traits and management styles that research repeatedly shows they possess in abundance.
For example, a 2014 study by the Center for Creative Leadership, entitled Women and Leadership: A Global Perspective, revealed that women were more likely than their male counterparts to demonstrate behaviours such as active listening, empathy, and relationship-building, all of which are qualities that are critical for success in the digital age. Another example is a study by Catalyst entitled Connecting Corporate Performance and Gender Diversity, which found that women often bring diverse perspectives and communication styles that can improve decision-making and foster innovation.
Women in business have the potential to leverage these strengths and apply them to digital advances to create customer-focused and innovative businesses. And there are many ways in which this can be achieved:
Harness your social media skills
Social media is an excellent tool for connecting with your target audience, building brand awareness, and creating a strong online presence. Various studies have shown that women in business are also more likely to use social media to effectively build relationships with customers and promote their businesses.
Research by Hootsuite, for example, found that women are better at building relationships with their followers on social media. The study found that women are more likely to respond to comments and messages and are more likely to use social media to connect with others in their industry and engage in two-way communication, which can help build trust and loyalty and increase sales.
To leverage social media effectively, you need to create a clear strategy for your social media presence. Identify your target audience and tailor your social media content to their preferences and needs. Use a mix of media types like videos, images, and written content to engage your audience.
Recognise digital time-wasters and time-savers
Digitisation can be a double-edged sword, as it can both save time and be a time-waster if not used efficiently. It’s essential to recognise the difference between these time-wasters and time-savers and then focus on using digital tools that are most relevant to your business needs and goals.
For example, you should be using productivity apps that automate routine tasks like scheduling and email management. You should also be taking advantage of cloud-based storage and collaboration tools like Google Drive, Dropbox, or even Microsoft Teams, which can enable you and your team to work together much more efficiently.
Use data to customise client experiences and journeys
Data is the key to customising your customers’ experiences and journeys. With the right data, you can tailor your products and services to meet your customers’ needs and preferences. Digitisation can help you collect and analyse this data quickly and efficiently, allowing you to make data-driven decisions that can help grow your business.
Whether you collect data via online surveys or polls or use more sophisticated methods like Google Analytics to track customer behaviour, data collection is essential because it allows you to personalise your customers’ experiences and enhance your engagements with them.
Stay up to date on new tech
New tech innovations such as artificial intelligence, automation, and blockchain can help you streamline your business operations, increase productivity, and reduce costs. As a woman in business, it’s essential to stay abreast of the latest tech trends and innovations and be open to implementing them in your business to improve your bottom line.
One obvious way to leverage tech innovations is by automating routine tasks like invoicing and inventory management. You can also use AI to personalise your customers’ experiences or chatbots to provide customer support. Blockchain can help secure your transactions and data, ensuring that your business stays secure.
Make sure your employees come along on your digital journey
To ensure that your digitisation efforts are successful, it’s essential to get your staff on board. Train your staff on how to use digital tools and technologies and communicate the benefits of digitisation clearly.
Encourage your team to share their ideas and feedback on how to improve your digital operations and create a culture that values innovation and adaptability. You could also get your staff on board with your digitisation strategy by offering training and development opportunities that focus on digital skills or simply encouraging them to share their ideas on how to improve your digital operations.
Leverage digital to deliver on your social contract
As a woman in business, you have a unique opportunity to leverage digitisation to deliver on your social contract – that is, your commitment to your customers, employees, and society. Digitisation can help you meet the needs and expectations of your stakeholders and create a positive impact on the world.
For example, you could use digital tools to track your carbon footprint, reduce waste, and ‘green’ your supply chain. Or you could use digitisation to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace by eliminating bias in your recruitment and selection processes and tracking your progress towards your diversity and inclusion goals.
As a woman in business, if you are willing to make the effort to fully leverage the power of digitisation, you can create immense value for your stakeholders, promote sustainability and social responsibility, and position your business for long-term success in the digital age.