Do you know the difference between a,,,, (OK so I made that last one up:>) and the endless stream of tech savvy jargon that seems to infiltrate our modern communication systems? To this little baby boomer it just goes right over her head. Between the evolving applications on Androids, IPhones, IPads, Notebooks and all those other gismo’s, the old days of the computer hard drive seems all but redundant in this fast paced age of seamless internet connectivity. The endless passwords that you need to commit to memory for every online service, application or to access your membership details online still does my head in and despite all those security warnings about don’t write them down, how on earth can we retain each and every one of them in our head.

Creating a new website also sends you on a whole new journey of discovery. So many options of what you need to include as well as those three lettered acronyms to ensure that your SSL and SEO are aligned. Even the mere whisper that a website is ‘under development’ creates a tsunami of emails and phone calls from people around the world promising that they will make you number one on the front page of Google. It does take time to get your head around it all and as a small business owner you need to decide whether it is worth paying someone else to develop the content and manage the website for you or learn the basic skills to manage it yourself. What I have learnt is that if you want to participate in this new digital landscape you need to invest in a website that is affordable to maintain on your budget, that you can update the content on a regular basis and that you have the connectivity that enables the content to be downloaded on a number of devices like mobile phones.

How sophisticated your digital platform becomes will depend on the type of business, products or services that you offer and where they can be accessed. For many small business owners, their website can simply be a launching pad to other social media platforms that are integrated with their website or links to where their products can be purchased in store or online. These can be more easily managed if you are a home based business or just getting started. For those whose businesses are aligned with industry, manufacturing and agriculture, the advances in artificial intelligence and robotics can increase productivity, analyse what else is trending in the market place and where new opportunities are evolving. Promoting your business and attracting clients via the World Wide Web (www) is limited only by your imagination and potentially your budget.

As a member of Women’s Network Australia (WNA) you have access to a phenomenal group of experienced business owners, mentors and cheer leaders who will be there to support you to embrace the changing digital landscape and to explore opportunities that enable you to participate in the growing digital economy. There are a number of online resources and government grants available for Australian Business Owners to access to improve their digital literacy and skills including your basic knowledge and understanding of encryption codes to minimise security breaches, loss of data and down time. Aligning your marketing and sales across a number of digital platforms including facebook, twitter, instagram, pinrest etc can leverage your capacity to reach an even larger target market more quickly. Look, listen and learn from those that are already utilising these tools. Remember you don’t have to reinvent the wheel you just need to understand what will turn your wheel into making more profits to increase your capacity to live the life of your dreams.

Another way to promote your business and build your networking capacity is to align your business with others that are working in the social enterprise space. You might consider becoming a sponsor, donor, mentor or contributor to support organisations like Givit, Safe Haven Community,  Share the Dignity and The Big Issue  just to name a few. These organisations were created because the founders identified a simple solution to address a specific social need to alleviate poverty, homelessness and domestic abuse. By inviting others to join them in becoming more conscious consumers they have created a tremendous ripple effect that can be replicated in other communities to make a real difference in reaching out to give people less fortunate than ourselves Hope for a brighter future.

For many women embarking on a new business venture or refreshing an existing business we can collectively contribute to building their economic empowerment by assisting them to find their voice, their niche and their purpose. More importantly though it is how we can maximise the utilisation of this evolving digital economy to build long and lasting relationships. While these digital tools enable us to run successful 24/7 online businesses, rest assured that some of the old familiar ways of networking are still the best and can be easily implemented by using those small key strokes on your computer or your IPhone and make that call that starts with saying ‘Hello, I’d love to catch up with you for a chat to see how can I help you to achieve your dreams?’.

My take way message is:

1. Find out what type of digital platform you are comfortable using and where your target or niche market prefers to do business then adapt your key message about your business products and services.
2. Use a low cost platform that doesn’t take a lot of your time or money to maintain.
3. Keep you key messages simple and stay connected with your target audience with regular updates.
4. Recommended reading: Marketing with Social Media – by Linda Coles.

So I’d best get a wriggle on as my new website is ‘underdevelopment’ and I too need to keep pace with this digitally challenging yet exciting new work space. Looking forward to saying hello again very soon.

Chris Knight
Director, Inspirational Connections/Dream Catcher
WNA National Rural and Remote Ambassador
M: 0403177012 Quotes of Note for inclusion with this article:
“Social media spark a revelation that we, the people, have a voice, and through the democratisation of content and ideas we can once again unite around common passions, inspire movements, and ignite change.”  Brian Solis, Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web
“Content without continuity and connection will leave you with fewer conversions, sales, and engagement. Stop trying to create something to go viral. Start building an authentic connection rooted in endurance and engagement.” Loren Weisman
The views expressed by the writer are not necessarily the views of the Springboard Consultancy Ltd

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