With a pressing need to pivot, and for some, the space and time to explore new ideas and directions, lockdown created challenge and opportunity in equal measure across industries. It saw an incredible 0-60 journey for many SMEs to become fully digital and remote simultaneously.
Despite the turbulence, investment today remains strong. Many SMEs were successful in securing funding to support their new business plans and offerings. But, as we take steps towards our new normality, how can entrepreneurs ensure continued success?
Firstly, continuing to invest in the right talent for your SME as you scale is crucial. Tech talent can be harder to find than willing investors. An attractive work environment and diverse, purpose-driven culture is vital to meet the rapidly evolving expectations of employees.The need for teams to be shackled to the office has been exposed as the myth it was. By offering the option of a remote working environment with negotiable working hours and blended ‘in-person’ options, SMEs can attract tech talent from anywhere and use technology to enable a collaborative and productive workspace.
Secondly, we have seen SMEs move faster to pivot and adapt their offerings to changing circumstances than many would probably have thought possible. It’s important entrepreneurs and SMEs maintain this pace and outlook in order to continue to take ideas to marketable reality in a matter of months.
To achieve this speed, SMEs need to continuously tweak and refine their technology infrastructure - looking for new ways to improve the speed and quality of its product delivery pipeline. Doing this requires knowing which tweaks to make and when to make them - bringing us back to the question of talent: you need the right digital people in place to achieve this, and likely, outside support to make it happen fast.
Finally, companies now generate vast quantities of data, but there is a very big difference between capturing raw data and translating it into decisive or predictive action. The right digital team can help SMEs capture and prioritise actionable data to create a winning transformation agenda - from set up, to ongoing measurement and analysis.
What the pandemic has shown us is that in the face of an extraordinary situation, innovation and speed were there, ready to go. The challenge, as we move into a post-COVID environment is how we maintain, and build, upon that momentum. That’s why entrepreneurs must surround themselves with the best possible tech talent, whether they’re on-staff, part of a community of trusted advisors, or a third party specialist.
Dave Livesey is the Edinburgh Club Executive for leading tech consultancy, AND Digital, who currently have 11 offices across the UK and new offices opening June 2021 in Glasgow and Amsterdam.