When companies make a difficult transition from brick and mortar to e-business, it has an impact on more than just their customers. While most people look at the outside and see how a company changes the way it does business, they should also consider the internal environment to see how this changes. The people who work within a company suffer through the transition, too, having to learn new skills, learn new ways of speaking, and adjust their roles to account for the company’s changing approach. Importantly, the transition to e-business often brings to bear a shakeup in the company’s operations, and there can be some self-serving behavior among department heads who see that whatever they are doing is less important than it was when the company was focused only on brick and mortar. With this in mind, one must look at the situation of a pizza company that has had success but wants to move online in order to scale its business more effectively.
During the course of the transition, the owner or senior manager of the pizza place will be charged with making primary decisions about the company’s approach and its cost allocation. People in position of leadership are largely visionaries who are supposed to be guiding the big decision making processes. Beyond that, these types of leaders are supposed to guide other employees and keep them informed. Owners of a small pizza joint would be responsible for ensuring that people understand the change, the reasons for it, and why it is a good thing for the company over the long run. Beyond that, the owner would direct the hiring strategy, deciding who stays on and who does not, and whether the company needs to bring on people who are more tech-savvy. The downside of the transition for an owner is that it can be a lot more work than most owners typically take on. It can also bring to bear more financial risk for the owner. The upside is that it brings the potential for significant returns. If the business successfully scales, then a small business owner could actually get rich in the deal rather than just having a good paying job as the owner of a small pizza joint.
An IT professional would be leading the charge in putting together systems to handle the transition. A good IT professional would put into place security, direct the company’s web activities, and ensure that the company was prepared to do a good quantity of business over the Internet. The IT professional would have significant responsibility during the process, but he would also become much more important to the company. Rather than being a fixer as he might have been in the past, he would become the core leader.
A marketing professional or department contracted on the outside would be in charge of leading new web marketing efforts. This would include SEO marketing through the Internet. It would also include building a web presence on social media sites, ensuring that the company’s brand is well-represented and that people are willing to make purchases through various online portals. The goal of marketing team would be to ensure that the company was appealing to the right customer base and the right market segments. The upside would be a new channeling of creativity. The downside would be the challenge associated with turning a mom and pop business into an online powerhouse. These things can take time, and some businesses are not as patient as they should be.
Ultimately it makes sense to take an e-commerce perspective, since the company can have people order pizzas online. This would improve the company’s ability to process orders more quickly. It would also allow the company to reach a wider group of potential customers at a lower cost, which can be helpful for a small pizza shop. While it still pays to have a local presence, it is critical to expand to the web some.
- Chaston, Ian. Small business marketing. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
- Pinker, Edieal J., Abraham Seidmann, and Reginald C. Foster. “Strategies for transitioning’ old economy’firms to e-business.” Communications of the ACM 45.5 (2002): 76-83.