How SMBs can unlock recovery and growth through digital services partnerships

What felt relevant just two years ago simply isn’t anymore. Right now, SMBs are understandably prioritising recovery and growth – a back to basics approach that’s more grounded in survival than innovation. But returning to business as usual shouldn’t mean a continuation of old practices. Practices that no longer meet the challenges of today. Progressive print and digital services partnerships, we argue, hold the answer.

Digital Services Partnerships

Digitisation is happening at a pace never seen before. McKinsey estimates that 10 years’ worth of technology adoption took place in just the last three years. All the while SMBs have been fighting some of the most challenging conditions seen by modern business. A potent mix of global health, economic, and social issues, as well as rising brand disloyalty among consumers. Trust is hard to come by, and many SMBs have been relying on digital transformation projects to deliver more.

So, what should digital print businesses do to help their SMB clients? They must help them make the most of their recent investments and take a longer-term, more consultative look at print with the needs of the future workplace in mind.

Digital Services Partnerships should be leading the revolution

In September 2020 Goldman Sachs found that 73% of small businesses saw development of their digital capabilities as a top priority. A year on, digital adoption shows no signs of slowing down. Technology and digital services are driving transformation that unlocks efficiency, facilitates agility and flexibility, accelerates growth, and creates accuracy. 

There’s growing evidence that SMBs that embraced technology were better able to weather recent economic and social challenges. And that’s mirrored by customers, with 88% of consumers surveyed by McKinsey expecting to see companies accelerating digital initiatives. Therefore as a result, around one in three SMB leaders said that the pandemic had brought forward their digitisation efforts or sped-up existing tech projects. In conclusion, growing SMBs are investing more in technology, and digital print technology resellers should seize this opportunity.

What Ricoh digital print partners can do to support SMB recovery and growth

SMB leaders are making technology investment decisions based on delivery value at the speed of need. Here’s how you can tap into that desire for short-term change as well as preparing clients for future challenges:

  • Adding new services and solutions to your existing offering immediately creates new reasons to talk, especially with existing clients. As a reseller, you only need to understand the service or solution not deliver it. Freeing you up to provide useful advice and achieve quick wins.
  • As part of Ricoh’s existing business partner network, you can look beyond reselling print devices and open up conversations about a range of broader document solutions and digital services to support your clients’ future workplace, including DocuWare and Workplace Services like Ricoh Spaces.
  • Talk about Ricoh’s journey. A decade ago, we began a transformation from purely print to a full Digital Services company designed to support organisations across most of their functions. That includes IT, HR and the workplace, business processes, and communications – as well as our existing print services. Partnering with Ricoh is part of that journey; we help resellers grow their businesses by creating opportunities to deliver more to clients.

The workplace is changing. Help your clients adapt

Accelerated digital adoption among SMBs is here to stay. Ricoh UK CEO Phil Keoghan recently wrote about how hybrid working is less a challenge and more an opportunity as we embrace this ‘new normal’. Working together anywhere requires a holistic, people-focused approach, and Digital Services Partnerships are uniquely placed to guide clients through the technology they’ll need, and how to embed it across the business for recovery and growth.

Together, we can help SMBs navigate how employees use existing technology, what’s working currently, and what they could do to improve.

Rowan Jeffreys-Hoar

Director Indirect Sales at Ricoh UK

Read all articles by Rowan Jeffreys-Hoar