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Live Lingua CEO & Co-Founder Ray Blakney Shares Must-Know Digital Transformation Tips

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Nowadays, the world we live in is evermore online. People are constantly scrolling down their social media feeds on their smartphones, buying products at ecommerce websites, launching fully virtual businesses… what does this all mean? Well, one thing this trend points to is the need for companies to prioritize digital transformation. Just ask Ray Blakney, CEO and co-founder of the Live Lingua online language school.

Ray’s business stemmed from successful digital transformation. It started off as a brick-and-mortar language school, where students could experience true language immersion. However, they had to go through a digital transformation and start offering Skype lessons in 2008 due to the Mexican Swine Flu pandemic. It was so successful, that they decided to launch it as a separate service on its own page — LiveLingua. Due to that preparation, Ray and his business were well-positioned for the 2020 pandemic and had our best year yet

Home Business Magazine recently caught up with Ray and get his insight on the need for a digital-first work environment, digital transformation tips, and more.

HBM: Is a digital-first work environment the way to go for most companies, even if only one person is working remotely?

RB: “I definitely agree that digital first is the way to go for today’s workforces, even if there is just one person working remotely. One reason is that digital transformation helps a business run much more efficiently. Now, it is easier than ever for teams to digitize their operations and collaborate on projects via cloud-based software and other applications. We have all seen this with how the COVID-19 pandemic forced virtually all businesses to pivot to fully remote operations and adopt the use of video chat and other technologies in order to keep projects going. In addition, the world is becoming ever more digital, with consumers constantly on their smartphones and on social media. Business leaders need to see how they can continue digitally transforming their enterprise to keep up with the latest trends.”

HBM: Which companies can most benefit from a digital transformation?

RB: “Any company that has not already undergone a digital transformation can benefit from it. There are very few industries, with some creativity, where this does not apply. A digital transformation in a business does not have to be as drastic as people imagine it to be; it can be done in increments over months and years so that the company can get used to the new environment bit by bit.”

HBM: What are your top tips for a successful digital transformation?

RB: My five tips for successful successful digital transformation are:

1) Audit all your business systems.

If your company is just starting on its digital transformation journey, the first thing to do is an audit of all the business systems you have in place. This audit should be a written document with a clear description, including SOP’s if you have the time, of everything each of the parts of your business is doing. Once you have them all, you then need to rank them in order of importance for your business. In this context, ‘importance’ normally means the impact it has on your bottom line.

2) Start with low-hanging fruit.

Once you have the business systems documented, the key is then to identify which digital tool or software can be used in the systems. Many software systems have free trials, so I recommend trying the ones that sound the best for 1-2 weeks each to see if it is the right fit for the business system before committing. This may take a bit more work upfront, but it will save you tons of time and money down the line if you decide to switch later and have already invested a lot in the wrong system.


3) Bring in experts.

Depending on the business system, you may also want to consider bringing in an expert to help set up the system for your company. Don’t worry, this is not like the old days where you needed to pay millions to the big 5 consulting firms to set things up. You can usually find experts to help you do it for just a few hundred (or at most a few thousand) dollars on sites like Upwork.com. This early investment can also save you tons of money down the road. The beauty of this method is that if you like the person that helps you set it up, you always have somebody you can contact to help you modify the systems or fix bugs in the future. You won’t need to have a full-time expert in your company.

4) Don’t get caught up in analysis paralysis.

It is very easy to get caught up in the minutia of your own business systems and decide not to go through with a digital transformation because the software out there only does 99.9999% of what you need, and does not do the other 0.0001%. Just because you are going digital does not mean that there is no room at all for the old analog systems you had in place. A digital transformation is just meant to improve those older systems and make your business more efficient.

Also, paralysis can happen when looking for software. Don’t get caught up too much in the research phase. Spend most of your time in the trial phase as outlined in point 2. That way you can get past the sales pages of the software you are considering and evaluate them in a real-world setting in your business.

5) You are never done.

One key is that with a body transformation, you are never going to be done because you can never stop exercising and eating right. Comparatively, in your company’s digital transformation, you can never stop looking for ways to improve and streamline your business systems. The minute you do, you will fall behind your competitors and have to start again a few years down the road.”

You can reach Ray Blakney at LiveLingua.com, PodcastHawk.com, and on LinkedIn.

The post Live Lingua CEO & Co-Founder Ray Blakney Shares Must-Know Digital Transformation Tips appeared first on Home Business Magazine.

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