By Nkululeko Nombika, Business Operations Director, Sage Africa, Middle East and Australia-Pacific

With stadiums now allowed to operate at full capacity, sport is back in a big way after two years of COVID-19 restrictions. Likewise, business is bouncing back as the last remaining pandemic restrictions are rolled back, allowing companies and the economy to trade with more freedom.

Even amid rising inflation, load shedding and the Ukrainian war, the end of most remaining COVID-19 measures will boost business confidence.

But they also know that thriving in the years to come will require digital fitness. Just like physical fitness can help everyone – not just top sportspeople – to lead a richer and happier life, digital fitness plays an essential role in improving the lives of SMB owners and employees. Here’s what it takes for businesses to get warmed up, boost their digital fitness, and perform at their best.

Seeing the value of digital fitness

Manual processes will cost you. Getting bogged down in time-consuming administration will prevent your business from developing the muscle memory that will allow it to be resilient, future-proofed, and strive for future goals. Digital fitness is all about moving from the slow and manual to the fast and automated. Automating repetitive, low value activities is the key to being agile and competitive in the face of inflation, rising competition and disruptions. By digitising accounting or automating HR practices, SMBs have more time and attention to strategy and customer service.

Setting digital fitness goals

Setting digital fitness goals starts with figuring out which frustrating, manual tasks draw attention away from what matters. It would help if you looked to digitise these tasks by seeking specific solutions to upgrade your ability to tackle them. When it’s clear that digital technologies are needed, the next big question is how to choose the right fit.

Not sure where to start? Use your network and connect with other businesses in the community to listen to their stories and recommendations. You could also attend talks and masterclasses from the world’s leading experts. As any sportsperson will tell you, training and learning alongside peers helps secure marginal gains that matter.

Running the race with stamina

No long-distance runner wins by sprinting from start to finish. When looking to develop digital fitness, the pacing is vital to ensure the best result possible. When adopting new technology, you can start small and do a proof of concept with every new technology you adopt. Before investing, ensure it fixes the pain point you identified and focuses on core goals.

As your business achieves higher levels of digital fitness, it will uncover more opportunities and advantages along the digitalisation journey. Don’t be afraid to outgrow your digital solutions. As you move up the ranks to the Premier League of digital, you may want to scale up to more advanced solutions. With the right coaching, the transition can be smooth, and momentum maintained.

A digital fitness routine that produces results

There is much SMBs can learn from the world of sport. Like the training regimes and goal setting of today’s athletes and sports stars, your business will thrive when it adopts a tailored digital fitness plan. Innovative technology that provides SMBs visibility, flexibility, and efficiency to manage finances, operations, and people will be the key to any programme. Achieving agility, strength, and resilience comes down to being ready to digitalise, getting set with the right tools, and seizing the opportunity to go for it.

About Sage

Sage exists to knock down barriers so everyone can thrive, starting with the millions of Small and Mid Sized Businesses served by us, our partners and accountants. Customers trust our finance, HR and payroll software to make work and money flow.  By digitising business processes and relationships with customers, suppliers, employees, banks and governments, our digital network connects SMBs, removing friction and delivering insights. Knocking down barriers also means we use our time, technology and experience to tackle digital inequality, economic inequality and the climate crisis.

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