Digital transformation in micro businesses has received limited attention. Most studies tend to focus on small and medium-sized businesses or larger enterprises, neglecting the specific needs and challenges faced by micro businesses. As a result, there is a lack of education and resources tailored to the unique context of the micro-business sector.
A recent study by Anuragini Shirish, Shirish C. Srivastava & Niki Panteli explores, the value of micro-business owners in sustaining digital transformation, and the importance of their role in supporting and implementing digital initiatives. They investigate the business owners’ readiness to invest in digital transformation from both a growth and technology mindset perspective.
The study included 28 micro-business owners from florist to financial advisor to jewellery manufacturer and the data suggests that there are three archetypes of microbusiness owners in relation to digital transformation:
Champion Digital Transformers
Champion digital transformers are the true tech enthusiasts. They have a strong growth mindset where they embrace mistakes as valuable learning opportunities. They do not dwell on past setbacks; instead, they learn from them and use that knowledge to fuel their personal and professional growth. When it comes to technology, they are fearless experimenters, they dive into the latest tools and trends, always eager to try new things. These digital champions are go-getters. They take the initiative to learn about technology, proactively seeking out information and resources. They understand the bigger picture when it comes to digital transformation projects and see them as golden opportunities to propel their businesses forward by leveraging the appropriate digital resources. Being ahead of the game is their forte. These champions are constantly on the lookout for new technologies that can give their businesses a competitive edge. For instance, they would have been quick to discover and explore Chat GPT, experimenting with it to uncover ways to benefit their operations.
In a nutshell, champion digital transformers are the trailblazers of the digital world. They are not afraid to make mistakes, always ready to learn, and continuously seeking out innovative technologies that can drive their businesses to new heights.
Emerging Digital Transformers
Now, let’s talk about the emerging digital transformers. This group have a moderate growth mindset. They learn from their past experiences and use that knowledge to improve. They are interested in technology and have a curious nature, but they want to be sure of the benefits and tend to approach it with caution. Making big changes to their business can give them a little pause. When it comes to technology, they’re more reactive than proactive. They won’t dive headfirst into digital transformation projects unless there is a pressing need or a clear benefit for their business. They take their time, analyse the situation, and carefully weigh the pros and cons before making a move. They are different to the champion digital transformers who fearlessly embrace new tech. Take, for instance, an emerging digital transformer who gets told about digital tools like Evernote or Asana for their business. They’ll have some reservations and hesitations, but they won’t dismiss the idea entirely. They will start thinking about it and pondering the ways these tools can be utilised, especially if they have come across a compelling case study or seen the benefits firsthand from another small business.
In summary, emerging digital transformers are those who are still finding their footing in the digital realm. They learn from their experiences, show interest in technology, but prefer a more cautious and evidence-based approach when it comes to making changes. They’re open to exploring new tools, but they need that extra nudge to fully embrace them and see how they can positively impact their business.
Aspiring Digital transformers
Lastly, let’s talk about the aspiring digital transformers. These people have a somewhat closed mindset. They don’t have the same level of confidence when it comes to growth, and they’re afraid of making mistakes. Technology? They’re not comfortable with it at all and very reluctant to experiment with new technology tools.
Digital transformation, for them, is seen more as a threat than an opportunity. But here’s the interesting part—they still have this burning desire to improve their business. They recognise the potential benefits of leveraging digital and human resources, even if they’re not quite sure how to go about it. For instance, when an aspiring digital transformer hears about government-funded programs like Digital Start, that help support micro-businesses in their digitalisation journey, they are more likely to have been told about it rather than discovering it themselves or actively researching it. And even though they may want to take action, they often find themselves hesitant to do so
To summarise, aspiring digital transformers have lower levels of confidence, especially when it comes to technology. They are cautious of making mistakes and are generally reluctant to dive into the digital world. However, deep down, they still aspire to improve their business and understand the importance of digital resources, but they need extra guidance and encouragement to take the
necessary steps forward.
Micro-business owners hold the keys to digital transformation. Their mindset sets the tone for their organisation’s drive to implement and sustain digital initiatives. Understanding their archetype and nurturing a positive, forward-thinking mindset becomes a game-changer in the digital journey of their business.
Which archetype are you? Are you ready to get started on your digital transformation journey? John and team are on hand to help. Reach out to John O Shanahan at email@example.com.