Why can they not continue working in the same way, with the same people indefinitely doing the same things at the same pace using the same processes and methodologies?
Is there a correlation between the length of time a small business has been in existence and its resistance to change?
There seems to be, the longer a small business is in existence while making a continuous profit that affords the small business owner a sustainable lifestyle, the more likely there is high resistance to change and high resistance in adapting (Pietersen, 2002) to the VUCA volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous external environment.
The small business sector reduces in profitability, due either to competitors or disruptors taking away business, only then does the small business owner realise that change is necessary and that their business model in use is no longer viable. At this late stage, small business owners find it difficult to pivot and adjust to make the business sustainable again.
Continuous change should now be the expectation in all organisational planning and operations, targeted change, starting with re-focusing the business vision, mission and value system. No longer just a plaque on a wall or a piece of paper in a drawer, the transparent vision must epitomise the way forward in a way that every member of the organisation understands its applicability and significance.
Once the vision is clear, overcoming the stasis in the small business, includes:
- Addressing the legacy issues in people skills and archaic infrastructure (hardware, software and communications).
- Nurturing an innovative environment within the firm.
- Ensuring the interoperability and transparency between all of the sectors of the small business.
- Encouraging participation from customers, competitors, other sector interested parties and staff identifying and internalising these stimuli into opportunities to dynamically shift and introduce new business models while proactively re-defining the product and services expectations within the firm’s sector.
With the arrival of the triple revolution of smartphones, high-speed internet and social media, the way we network, communicate and conduct business has changed, requiring a much more collaborative, transparent and responsive way of doing business. The four V’s of high volume, variety, velocity and veracity of data transactions due to the speed of technology progression underpin the provision of value that customers require. Understanding this data requires people with the right skills invested in providing value to customers.
(Fenton, Fletcher, & Griffiths, 2019) ‘The ultimate goal of digital transformation is to create innovative working environments and business models that support a data-driven, people-focused organisation.’
Digital technologies alone are not a solution to the VUCA environment problems. The firms’ employees address these challenges through the skilful use of digital technologies, making them the drivers of a successful digital transformation.
In order to digitally transform the small business, there must be a holistic alignment of the business model, the required technologies, data requirements and employee skillset. A pre-identified strategy, rather than an ad-hoc approach, anticipates the difficulties in change, avoids employee resistance and increases participation and buy-in, thereby improving the value and user experience of the customer.
Fenton, A., Fletcher, G., & Griffiths, M. (2019). Strategic Digital Transformation: A Results-Driven Approach. Routledge Ltd. Retrieved from https://www.dawsonera.com:443/abstract/9780429020469
Pietersen, W. (2002). The mark twain dilemma: The theory and practice of change leadership. Journal of Business Strategy, 23(5), 32–37. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb040272