Preparing Your Business: ‍For A Digital Transformation

Preparing Your Business: ‍For A Digital Transformation

What is Digital Transformation?

As entrepreneurs, we become accustomed to never-ending change. New labour and tax laws, emergent competitors and products and services that didn't exist as recently as last year. Our ability to pivot and adjust defines our purpose in the realm of the self-employed. But recent changes to the way business is done threatens to derail entrepreneurship as you and I have known it. AirBnB has more rooms listed than all the major hotel chains combined. GoDaddy allows you to have a website without even owning a computer and LinkedIn allows you to connect with executives you wouldn't previously have ever heard of. We are in the era of digital transformation.

Entrepreneurs and their advisors have pursued time-tested business objectives: customer satisfaction, high margins, happy staff and a powerful brand. And for all practical purposes, those outcomes are still critical to the success of any business. But the times have changed. The path to those outcomes is no longer what it once was. Customers are now looking for an amazing experience, innovative services that can be purchased online and streamlined payment and delivery methods.

We believe that digital transformation is a process of re-designing your business around digital processes so that the majority of your customers arise from online activities, are served using digital tools and complete their purchasing experience digitally. Customers now expect a unique experience in terms of how they interact with your business. New success factors include user-friendly design, visibility in search engines and simple purchasing and payment methods. Ancillary services such as home delivery and simple return processes have come to be expected by consumers. As technology accelerates productivity, businesses with excellent digital assets and business processes will attain significant cost advantages over those without. A 2020 CIO report highlights customer experience, improved services and new services are the top three priorities for digital transformations.

Digital marketing for businesses
“Digital transformation marks a radical rethinking of how an organization uses technology, people and processes to fundamentally change business performance.”
— George Westerman, MIT principal research scientist and author of Leading Digital: Turning Technology Into Business Transformation

Companies like Amazon, Uber and AirBnB have revolutionized consumer purchasing habits and destroyed their competition in the process. Tasks that take you minutes, such as invoicing and collections, take them seconds. Digest that for a second. They are literally 30 to 180 times more productive than non-digitized businesses? How can you compete? We'll be blunt. You can't. And that's where BluePrint CPAs comes in. Small businesses like yours (and ours) have two choices: be devastated by digital goliaths or pivot towards a new and improved future, fueled by technology, unique strategies, valuable intangible assets, a remote workforce, fresh branding and improved service delivery methods. We believe you're reading this blog post because you want to thrive. And we could not be happier that you're here. We are more than just accountants. We are forward-thinking investors that back our advice with our own investments in similar methodologies. So when we make recommendations, you can trust that we're not bean counters, we're digital strategy specialists that want to help you implement a much-needed transformation.

The industrial revolution and its relentless focus on efficiency and scientific analysis of production allowed our society to fabricate products at a scale that was previously unavailable. Recall the Pony Express? How did it fare relative to today's Purolator or FedEx? How about Consumer's Distributor's or Woolco, KMart or even Sears? How did those organizations fare relative to say Amazon, which has produced the wealthiest shareholder in the history of the planet. All this to illustrate that if you're sitting in your office thinking to yourself that the digital transformation doesn't apply to your business, just think back to the days of KMart.

Business is being transformed and disrupted by innovators that aren't concerned with the well-being of your family enterprise. They have only one goal: serve as many customers as they can worldwide at lowest possible price and highest possible scale. Governments around the world recognize the threat that advances in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning represent. We live in a world that may be facing mass layoffs as computers and robots learn at rates never before seen. But here's the good news. You and your business are staring at more opportunities than ever before.

How Will Digital Transformation Help My Business?

Digital Transformation to help

Launching and successfully executing a successful digital transformation is serious business. First, you, as top leader, need to be fully committed to sticking to it even when you encounter resistance from customers, vendors and employees. If you go into a transformation with the importance of your role in mind, then the benefits of digital transformation are enormous. It will become easier to find new customers. The odds that those customers are ideal for your business will increase.

Talented employees will find your business attractive, making it easier to serve your growing customer base. Digitalization will help standardize certain aspects of your products and services, thereby streamlining your operations and project management. Your bookkeeping, including invoicing, payables, payroll and tax compliance will benefit from a higher degree of efficiency and can easily become paperless. And purchasing and supply chain activities will benefit too - automated payments, electronic purchase orders and simplified re-ordering are all attainable.

The digital age is defined by a new way of doing business. By building flexible business models that leverage data to deliver exactly what customers want and when and where they want it, a level of scale is available that business owners couldn't previously have dreamt of. You can now design a website with a chat function staffed by humans in North America, Europe and Asia and have 24/7 sales and customer support. With three employees. Yes, three. As another example, consider a business that can now receive payment by credit card in advance and deliver its service to users all over the world. All this just by leveraging new marketing methods and a website. Mom and pops businesses are at a pivotal point in their histories.

 
It is a strategic imperative that you and your business plan now to evolve into the digital age. Ask yourself how your business can market its services in this new environment. Are your products and services designed for quick and easy distribution through the Internet? Ask yourself if your making it as easy as possible for new clients to engage with your business while scrolling on their smartphones before bed. Is your business visible to these consumers? Ask yourself if you're receiving electronic payments from impulsive consumers before they even use your product. Do you accept credit card payments through your website? Ask if your business has any followership whatsoever. Are you using YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, Instagram or SnapChat to connect with potential customers? By considering the relationship between data, customers and business processes, you will be forced to revisit how you have defined and operated your business.

Your business needs a data strategy. You collect data, whether you realize it or not. The question is what do you do with this data. For example, what is your average revenue per customer. With what frequency do they pay? Are there ways to use this data to get them to pay more frequently and slightly more? How do your operations consume utilities? Can you relocate your operations to benefit from off-peak utility usage? Are you actively gathering customer reviews in order to promptly respond to their feedback and criticisms? Questions like these are the tip of the iceberg in terms of data collection and commercialization.

Your business needs a customer strategy. Do you know if your competitors are offering better products than yours in a more convenient purchasing channel? Is your online marketing capturing leads and converting them to new high paying customers? Does your sales funnel work with a CRM to ensure that your sales pipeline is full of high paying customers? Customers are at the center of digital transformation. If you're not responsive to their needs, they'll replace you as easily as they can search on Google.

Your business needs a network strategy. Does your business disseminate and build its brand at next to no cost using all available social media? Do you collaborate with upstream and downstream industry participants to ensure that your supply chains and distribution channels are automated, efficient and low cost? If you haven't revisited your procurement and network strategies, you're probably falling behind.

Digital transformation requires an overhaul of not just your business processes but your entire business model from the ground up. And in any transformation initiative, there are significant strategic and operational risks.

The Risks of Digital Transformation

According to Hortense de la Boutetier, a Partner in McKinsey & Company's Paris office, only about 30% of businesses succeed in their digital transformation objectives. The good news is that small businesses have a higher likelihood of success due to the flexibility and rapid decision-making in owner-managed businesses. But not if you go it alone. A lack of digital capabilities in the senior management and/or ownership ranks is a significant risk factor for small businesses. On the other hand, digitally-savvy leaders are the key driving force in a successful transformation. Sound business strategy and daily reinforcement by management are the key success factors for successful digital transformation.

“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” — W. Edwards Deming

Digital transformations are both imperative and high risk. Risk factors are elevated because the uncertainty arises from the bottom to the top. In other words, the risks are both strategic and operational. Strategic risks define the success or failure of the entire business whereas operational risks occur at the day-to-day level, such as dissatisfied clients or ineffective project management automation. The team at BluePrint CPAs would argue that the risks to not undertaking a proper digital transformation are many times greater than the risks to undertaking it. This is because customer expectations and competitive dynamics are shifting to a critical point where you may not thrive or survive if you do not digitize at least some portion of your business.

When the current leadership team lacks technological savvy, it becomes even more important to have external advisors and objective assistance with planning and implementation.

BluePrint CPAs Specializes in Digital Business Strategy

Assessing your digital opportunities.

We have a unique approach to evaluating your business’ “digital maturity.” Our President and Lead Strategy Advisor, Kit Moore, CPA, CA oversees business and tax strategy projects while our Chief Technology Officer, Kieran Prince, leads all of our digital audit and development work. We will interview you and your key personnel before launching into a rigorous analysis of all of your technological assets and systems. By the end of the audit, you will receive a written report on our findings with recommendations that are revisited later on in our Digital Strategy BluePrints program.

Reviewing your current operations.

As an entrepreneur, business strategist and tax accountant, Kit is in a unique position to help you evaluate the state of your sales & marketing, talent management, operations & project management, finance & accounting and purchasing & supply chain activities. We will engage you and your team through a series of surveys, questionnaires, interviews, worksheets and templates so that we understand your business in detail. That knowledge is the foundation of determining a new digital direction and ensuring that we can help you implement standard operating procedures that fit your business and industry. At this stage, it's too early to tell you how to modify your business processes for the digital transformation, but we will have a very sound understanding of you currently do business.

Implement tax plans & structures.

Tax planning and structures are not central to digital transformation; however, digital business strategies have the potential to create significant market value so it is critical to have a tax structure in place prior to the value creation. We are CPAs and tax accountants first and foremost and we have a variety of legal entities and tax structures at our disposal to ensure that your business is taking advantage of capital gains exemptions, income splitting, tax deferrals and personal tax strategies. Tax planning presents a sea of opportunities and we will help you design a structure that retains wealth for your family and business associates.

Streamline cloud accounting and digital processes.

Now you'll be in a position to revisit the findings of our operational review through a new lens: that of a digital business strategy. By redefining your business processes and implementing new technologies, you'll be delivering on the strategy. We will ensure that all of your core business functions - sales & marketing, talent management, operations & project management, finance & accounting and purchasing & supply chain - have processes that suit your digital business strategy.

The digital processes we seek to build generally focus first on sales. We feel that if we can immediately help you grow revenue, the Digital Strategy BluePrints will pay for themselves. And quickly. But we also want to make these processes easy so they hinge on automation, not manual effort. After all, what's the point of hiring us if we're just causing you a painful amount of new work. There will be work, and it will be considerable, but it shouldn't be painful because the growth you experience will enhance the value of your business for years to come.

Other important aspects of automation include paperless accounting, streamlined task and project management and simpler accounts payable., among many, many others that we will help you innovate with. We are value-oriented entrepreneurs so we do not promote get rich quick schemes. We seek to help you build a durable business that can be sold or transferred with relative ease when the time is right.

Developing a unique strategic direction.

The extensive operational review that we conduct helps us evaluate your business model, the way in which your business creates and captures value from customers and distributes it to stakeholders such as vendors, employees, lenders, tax authorities and shareholders. BluePrint CPAs has 30 generic business models that it can help you assess. Business models often have specific product and service types that we will help you implement. But strategic planning goes beyond your business model. We will help you determine which objectives and key results - OKRs - are necessary to drive your business in its new strategic direction.

You will also need new leadership and digital capabilities that will require additional resources. We also wear the accountant hat. We will help you translate your new strategic plan into a financial forecast that breaks down your sales targets by new service types and then forecasts the investments, expenditures and financing needed to deliver on your digital business strategy. The capabilities needed to drive the strategy forward, in conjunction with your modernized product and service offerings, will help us recommend new business processes. The strategic planning process will leave your business well positioned to explain your direction to lenders and investors in order to attract any new capital needed to grow your business. With a strategy and fresh capital nailed down, you'll be ready to start with implementing new digital processes.

“Every digital transformation is going to begin and end with the customer, and I can see that in the minds of every CEO I talk to.” — Marc Benioff, Co-CEO, Salesforce

Rally your team and monitor results.

This is the secret sauce. Very few accounting firms are in a position to assist you with digital transformation, but even fewer will be spending time rallying your team and helping you craft a narrative that compels them to make the necessary changes for personal and professional growth. The larger your organization, the more challenging it is to implement change agendas at scale. As an additional service, we can help train your staff and ensure they feel confident in their new roles. We can also create engaging training manuals and onboard documents.

It takes time to implement change, which is why our programs are delivered over years, not weeks. We want to ensure that your digital transformation is sustainable and that we help you monitor results as they unfold, in real time. Accordingly, your strategic plan will highlight expected outcomes early on so that your quarterly management reporting can identity where you're falling short on your long-term goals. OKRs are an excellent tool to help you get your business mobilized and monitor results so that you can make corrections proactively, not once it's too late.

Maintain your digital systems and correct course.

The digital world is tricky. Much like a building, or a vehicle, your digital system needs maintenance. Search engines change over time, as do customer preferences. What was once a cutting edge marketing technique, can become obsolete in a relatively short period of time. So we will be around to ensure that your system remains optimal for the digital world, that you continue to produce relevant content and marketing materials and that trends in the digital world are harnessed before it's too late.

In the later phases of our project we will spend more time on marketing activities to ensure that you continue to grow your business. And if we feel the digital world is changing, as it perpetually does, we will make timely recommendations on how to leverage those changes to the benefit of your business.

When is the Digital Transformation Complete?

Here's the thing: digital transformation is a journey, not a destination. An integrated strategy requires continuous monitoring and corrective action. If your digital abilities are advanced, you may not need an advisor to help with your change agenda. However, if you, like so many others, struggle to define your digital future, then we are here to help.

"Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements. This reimagining of business in the digital age is digital transformation."

How Do We Start a Digital Transformation?

The time for change is now. Don't wait until the next Uber takes over industries such as professional services, agri-business or construction and trades. Get ahead of the trend. Invest significantly in the automation of your enterprise. And if you feel ill-equipped to make the decisions and investments that will benefit your future, bring in a professional team like ours to help you brainstorm, design and implement the strategies of the future.

We believe that you already have. If you've gotten this far into our blog post, then you're committed to learning and growth, which are the baseline requirements of digital transformation leadership. It is critical to understand that the transformation journey begins with you and your top leadership team. Once you are mentally prepared to undertake and lead a digital transformation, then the next step involves engaging BluePrint CPAs to start our proprietary process. Visit the Plans page to better understand our service. You are also able to book a Freebie Chat, a Digital Strategy Intro or a Deep Dive.

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Rebecca Scott
Web Designer

Rebecca is a Web Designer at BluePrint CPAs. She is a graduate of St. Clair College’s Internet Applications and Web Development Program and has worked as a freelance web designer before joining the BluePrint team.

BluePrint CPAs is a management consultancy that simplifies digital, financial and talent strategies. Our team helps entrepreneurs and their teams grow profitable and modern businesses.

Kit Moore, BluePrint CPAs President & Lead Tax Advisor
Kit Moore, CPA, CA
President & Lead Tax Advisor

Kit Moore, is an entrepreneur that simplifies digital strategy for other business owners. The team at BluePrint CPAs can assist you with web design, development, analytics, management systems and, more importantly, your overall business strategy. The toughest part of digital transformation is re-training your team - and we have pros to help with that as well.

BluePrint CPAs is a management consultancy that simplifies digital, financial and talent strategies. Our team helps entrepreneurs and their teams grow profitable and modern businesses.

Kit Moore, BluePrint CPAs President & Lead Tax Advisor
Kit Moore, CPA, CA
President & Lead Tax Advisor

Kit Moore, is an entrepreneur that simplifies tax and financial strategy for other business owners. The team at BluePrint CPAs can assist you with financial technology, tax strategies, mergers & acquisitions, succession & exit planning and, more importantly, your overall business strategy.

BluePrint CPAs is a management consultancy that simplifies digital, financial and talent strategies. Our team helps entrepreneurs and their teams grow profitable and modern businesses.

Joe Marra, MBA
Senior Associate, Strategy Consulting

Joe is a Senior Associate, Strategy Consulting at BluePrint CPAs. He is a recent graduate of the MBA Program at the Schulich School of Business and has most recently worked for Bayer Inc and the Ford Motor Company of Canada. His experience in marketing, sales, and human resources spans various industries including hospitality, logistics, life sciences and automotive manufacturing. Joe loves working with entrepreneurs to develop their digital strategies and help them grow their business.

BluePrint CPAs is a management consultancy that simplifies digital, financial and talent strategies. Our team helps entrepreneurs and their teams grow profitable and modern businesses.

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