Design Business Digitalization Game Plan – Guide To Becoming A More Digital Design Entrepreneur

Over the years, I and my team have helped many businesses with their digitalization strategy and game plan. Things got even more acute when Covid-19 hit, and we HAD TO digitalize everything. Luckily things are getting back to a somewhat normal stage now, but what makes me happy is that digital thinking is here to stay.

  • What exactly is digital thinking?
  • What happens when a business starts on its digitalization journey?
  • And: “Do I really have to…?”
Small Business Digitalization Game Plan
Small Business Digitalization Game Plan

Digital thinking: The Foundation For Your Digitalization Game Plan

Digital thinking is to prioritize your business’ digital activities. It’s a choice, just like growth is a choice (not everyone chooses growth, and that’s fine).

Digitalization is equally much about strategy as it is about tactics, the tools that you use to transform your business to be more digital.

The Definition of Digital Thinking

The definition of digital thinking is the approach that prioritizes and integrates digital technologies and strategies into all aspects of a business to improve efficiency, create value, and foster innovation. It involves adopting a digital-first mindset, where digital solutions are considered at the forefront of problem-solving and decision-making processes.

Digital thinking encompasses understanding and leveraging digital tools and platforms to enhance business models, customer engagement, and operational processes. It aims to drive growth, competitiveness, and adaptability in an increasingly digital world, ensuring that businesses can respond effectively to changing market dynamics and consumer expectations.

The 3 main areas of Digitalization:

  • Business Model Innovation
  • Demand Generation
  • Operational Efficiency   

Where to start Digitalization

The most critical function in any business is getting customers. While many experts tell you to “build an amazing website and the clients will come” or “just be yourself and the money will roll in…” it’s not that simple. What is simple, though:

Once you figure out the right way for you to attract prospective clients and turn them into paying customers and clients, your business is officially live. Without customers, no business. 
That’s why we start with the most critical function of your business: getting clients.

What is Demand Generation

Demand generation is the process of creating awareness and demand for your products or services. It expands your audience, generates urgency, clarifies your solution, and transforms interest into action. It aligns 3 very important functions of your business: marketing, sales, and product/service development.

Demand generation is nothing new, it’s what growth marketers like us have been doing for a long time. However, it’s not only about traditional marketing, it’s an umbrella that covers multiple activities and aligns them to bring the results that every business wants: Return on Investment. 

The sooner your customer acquisition system works, the sooner you and your team can spend your time on other activities, such as delivering amazing service and products to your clients, and developing the business. And of course, having a life.

Here’s one thing I have learned after being a growth coach and an entrepreneur for a long time, and talking with thousands of others alike: nobody (almost at least) starts a company with the sole desire to SELL their stuff. 

Most people, likely even you, start their business because they have a passion for their thing, be it design, wellness, leadership, or helping people in any way they can.

So making sales is likely not your favorite thing either.
Also, HUNTING for clients is most likely the LAST thing you want to do, no?

“What to do?”
Well, engage in demand-generation activities.

That’s why, when a business decides to start a digitalization journey, they often start with the most critical function: sales and marketing. Hence we always build the Demand Engine first and then continue to other digitalization activities.

The elements of a Demand generation Engine:

  1. client profile and target audience
  2. lead flow
  3. lead routing
  4. lead qualification
  5. sales mechanism
  6. nurturing mechanism
  7. content system
  8. metrics
Read: 8 Demand Generation Steps To Supercharge Your Business Growth

Business Model Innovation

Many businesses realize that they need to, sooner or later, digitalize their business models.

  • What does business model innovation mean, exactly?
  • Does it mean I need to start selling online courses?

Well, maybe, if that’s your thing, but there’s a whole other world besides selling online courses, even if the e-learning industry is still booming, and is expected to reach a massive 1 Trillion USD by 2028. So yes, if you want to add online education to your offer mix, that might be a great choice.

But there’s more!

You could sell digital downloadables, templates, online coaching, VIP membership, affiliate products, e-design services, monetize your blog with ads, mood boards, e-commerce, and so on…

Business model innovation is a constant process that keeps your business relevant, modern, and profitable. It consists of processes and designs for new, exciting revenue models and an improved business structure that can lead to massive gains.

Read: Digital Products For Interior Designers – 13 Great Ways To Add Extra Revenue Streams

So, should I start with Business Model Innovation, i.e. transforming my business to have digital revenue streams, or with Demand Generation, ie sales and marketing of my current services and products?

The answer is yes, and yes.

  • If you already have a scalable business model, meaning you can and want to scale your capacity and grow your business, then it makes sense to focus on demand generation.
  • Equally, if you don’t have any sales or it’s not consistent, you definitely need to focus on that.
  • But if you already have sales and marketing working, we might engage in the transformation work focusing on creating digital revenue streams, and then move on to digitalizing your sales and marketing.

So, like everything in business… it depends.

How about Operational Efficiency?

Operational efficiency is something we build all along, for example, by systemizing your sales and marketing and packaging your offers to be easy to buy, easy to sell, and easy to deliver.

But, on your growth avenue, there will be new needs once you hit the next level of growth. You need to start thinking about how your systems work together, how your team uses the systems, and what kind of operational processes you need to build around all aspects of your business, not just for sales and marketing. This requires a deep understanding of the business infrastructure and multiple skilled team members and vendors.

FAQ – Design Business Digitalization Game Plan

Digitalization Game Plan

What Is Digital Thinking?

Digital thinking refers to a strategic approach where digital technologies and strategies are prioritized and integrated into all business aspects to enhance efficiency, create value, and foster innovation. It embodies a digital-first mindset, focusing on using digital solutions in problem-solving and decision-making processes. Digital thinking aims to leverage digital tools and platforms to improve business models, customer engagement, and operational processes, thereby driving growth and adaptability in a digital landscape.

Digitalization Game Plan

What Are the 3 Main Areas Of Digitalization?

The three main areas of digitalization include:

  1. Business Model Innovation: This area focuses on redefining the way a business generates revenue by integrating digital technologies into its core offerings.
  2. Demand Generation: It involves creating awareness and demand for products or services, crucial for expanding the customer base and driving sales.
  3. Operational Efficiency: Enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of business operations through digitalization to improve performance and reduce costs.
Digitalization Game Plan

Where Should a Business Start Its Digitalization Journey?

The starting point of digitalization should be identifying and enhancing the most critical business function: acquiring customers. Attracting prospective clients and converting them into paying customers is essential for any business’s survival and growth. Therefore, the focus should initially be on building effective sales and marketing strategies, often referred to as the Demand Engine, before proceeding with other digitalization initiatives.

Digitalization Game Plan

What Is Demand Generation?

Demand generation is a strategic process that aims to build awareness and demand for a company’s products or services. It involves aligning marketing, sales, and product/service development to generate leads, foster interest, and convert prospects into customers. Effective demand generation strategies ensure a return on investment by expanding the customer base and driving sales growth.

Digitalization Game Plan

What Is Business Model Innovation?

Business model innovation involves rethinking and redesigning the way a company creates, delivers, and captures value. It may include diversifying revenue streams, such as incorporating online courses, digital products, e-commerce, or online services. The goal is to adapt to market changes and technological advancements, ensuring the business remains competitive and profitable.

Digitalization Game Plan

Should a Business Focus on Business Model Innovation or Demand Generation First?

The decision between focusing on business model innovation or demand generation depends on the company’s current status and objectives. If the business lacks a scalable model or consistent sales, prioritizing demand generation is crucial. However, if sales and marketing are already effective, the focus can shift to innovating the business model to create digital revenue streams. In essence, the approach should be tailored to the business’s specific needs and growth stage.

Digitalization Game Plan

How Does Operational Efficiency Fit Into Digitalization?

Operational efficiency involves optimizing business processes and systems to maximize performance and reduce costs. In the context of digitalization, it means leveraging technology to streamline operations, improve workflow, and enhance productivity across all business functions. Achieving operational efficiency is a continuous process that supports growth and scalability, particularly as businesses evolve and face new challenges.

Design Business Digitalization Game Plan
Design Business Digitalization Game Plan

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