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How a digital-first mindset can power small and medium business growth

October 3, 2022
The state of SME digitalization

Digital business transformation is nothing new and most established companies have already embraced digital routes to market. On the other hand, many Malaysian SMEs lagged behind large firms in embracing digital transformation. The development of their digital strategy can seem challenging to SME owners as they do not see the needs and priorities in their own business.

The oft-misunderstood digitalization among Malaysian SMEs

Many small businesses often have been misunderstood about digitalization:

  • Digitalization is merely putting a front-end digital platform e.g. website or social media page to reach their customers;
  • Using social media for product communication and marketing, however the transaction is still manual with physical intervention instead of seamless e-commerce online transaction;
  • With just having computer and internet connectivity alone to modernise their business and not realizing that they have stopped short of greater productivity gains from more advanced digital technologies beyond just computers and internet.

A digital-first mindset helps SMEs prepare for the digital adoption

We are in the midst of a generational shift when it comes to consumer behaviour, with the majority of the online population now being millennial or younger digital natives. The impact of the pandemic has accelerated this shift, with growing expectations for both digital and consumer experience. That’s why digital transformation has become an enterprise-wide priority for businesses.

The thing that sets digital-first companies apart from those that haven’t been as successful is the mindset. The digital-first is a fundamentally important mindset for modern business owners. It has become a critical principle when businesses strive toward the all-digital future that is clearly on the economic horizon.

The concept of digital-first simply means the priority of using the digital approach to discovering new opportunities and solving any problems. It is important to note that digital-first do not suggest eliminating traditional channels. Instead, they are seeking redress for a bias towards traditional channels and behaviour.

Businesses that embrace change and adapt their products, services and marketing strategies to match the new digital-first standards of their changing audiences will have a better chance of success than those that stand still and wait for things to return to normal.

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