How This App Helps Small Businesses Undergo a Digital Transformation
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Moving multiple aspects of your business online can be a daunting task for a small-business owner. That's why Adi Engel and her team are dedicated to helping entrepreneurs streamline the process. Engel is the CMO at Vcita, a small business management suite specializing in solopreneurs, consultants, coaches and local microbusinesses in the service sector. Engel sat down with Jessica Abo to discuss how her company is working with multinational financial institutions to provide better value to small business customers and her advice for anyone about to go through a digital transformation.
Adi, can you tell us a little bit about the work you're doing at Vcita.
Adi Engel: Vcita is an app to help small-business owners manage their time, their money and their conversations with their clients . So, basically everything that they have to do throughout the day. It's built in a very simplified way that helps them automate as many of those pesky tasks they have to do throughout the day [as possible]. We also built a peer-to-peer learning platform from small and medium enterprise (SME) owners to other SME owners to help those small-business owners understand how to do things within their businesses, what could work for them, what can maybe challenge them. And we manage that as a community surrounding our app.
How does the app help small-business owners?
The idea is to let anyone who has a recurring base of clients manage their time, their payments and their engagement with their clients better. It could be a legal counsel, it could be a physiotherapist, it could be a yoga studio, it could be a dog walker. All of these people trade their time for money, and they need a structured record of their clients. They need to be able to get back to those clients and engage with them on a regular basis and in an intelligent way.
How do you partner with financial institutions to help small businesses?
When small businesses go through a digital transformation, first of all, they have a better life. They're more efficient, they're more transparent. Everything is on record. Their clients have better experiences. So, think about making your appointments online or paying for them online, or buying a subscription for your yoga classes online. All of that is made available to the end client, but for the financial institution, I always say, once you gave a small business funding for their initial growth, you are literally invested in their success.
So, you would want them to use tools that will contribute to their success, but you will also want to have the transparency, the data that those tools are allowing you to see, and that insight to where, what the small business is up to and how are they doing in terms of managing their day to day. And that gives those financial institutions the opportunity to offer them basically bank products, whether this is additional funding or other types of support.
I know you're a big proponent of digital inclusion. What does that mean to you?
We all know that digital can be very inclusive in the sense that it has no boundaries. Anyone can go in and if you have a phone, you can be digital, but at the same time, it can be very exclusive if it costs too much, if it's too techie, if you're using techies jargon and you're complicating the platform, you're not building it around the needs of the small business. Then it can be very exclusive to some people. Now, our expectation is that our users don't need to do anything to start using the app, and that is what I define as proper inclusion.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who are about to go through a digital transformation?
It very much depends on the individual and their own comfort with the digital environment and sense of efficacy. I think first of all, you should think about what you're comfortable with doing and whatnot. If you're not comfortable with social media, don't make that the first peak you're trying to conquer. Start with the simplest stuff that everyone needs. Digital payments, take appointments online, engage with your clients online. This is the basic stuff that would be virtually the same as doing it face-to-face, only enabled by a digital environment.