Last weekend, my wife and I were longing for that pre-pandemic restaurant experience. We went in search of a small restaurant with outdoor seating – to limit our interaction with others.  Once we were seated, no waitress arrived. Instead, there was a QR code to access the online menu. We’ve seen this before in many Bay Area restaurants by now. It’s clever.  But what surprised me was that this innovative restaurant went a step further.  Beyond viewing the menu options, we were prompted to order and pay online.  Ten minutes later, the food arrived. I’m really not sure how they knew where we were sitting (my guess is that the QR code was customized to our table).   We said hello to the waitress, ate our food, and walked away. A simple QR code led us into seamless experience that eliminated friction for customers, reduced labor overhead for the restaurant, and limited people-to-people exposure in the COVID age.

I’ve not yet seen this full-circle solution at other restaurants. At least, not yet.  The fact that my very first interaction with this efficient process occurred at a modest restaurant (one with no budget for IT or technological innovation) was fascinating to me. This is digital transformation, and it can have stunning results for small business.

Think about the profile of the Buyer for your company.  There is an excellent chance that the new owner may be younger than you; and perhaps, having grown up in the Bay Area, they will have an innate connection to technology.  What types of digital innovation will this Buyer expect in the company they ultimately purchase?

Imagine you’re selling your home to a Gen Z Buyer in the Bay Area.  Your thermostat is an old school 1980’s Honeywell thermostat. Your neighbor’s home is also for sale, but the thermostat has been upgraded to Nest. What will appeal to this young Buyer? The thermostat is only one feature, but I’d be willing to bet that this Buyer will dream about the aesthetically pleasing blue glow of the Nest thermostat in their new home…

If you’ve been ignoring, neglecting, or postponing your adoption of technology in your business, stop procrastinating.  If you’re a Bay Area company, then you’re obviously at the center of the technology universe, and Buyers will notice if you’ve fallen behind the curve.

There are a number of relatively inexpensive things you can do – some of them all by yourself – to digitally enhance the sales value of your business.  Here are six  ideas to get you started:

  • Create a new, modern style website. Simple template-based solutions exist, such as Wix or Squarespace. No programmer required.
  • Start a Company blog and have your team members contribute. Here at Sunbelt, each of our brokers do exactly that. Make sure to include important keywords in each blog post.
  • Invest a modest marketing budget in SEO and paid search. This will help generate traffic to your website when customers are in need of a solution only you can best provide.
  • Add Live Chat to your website. It’s the online equivalent of having a salesperson waiting to greet a customer in your store. There are a wide range of solutions that can easily integrate to your website. To name a few: LiveAgent, LiveChat, and MobileMonkey.
  • Expand your use of social media in your marketing channels. If you’re already on Facebook, that’s great… but there are other channels that are more compelling to reach younger audiences.
  • Start using online meetings if you haven’t already. Zoom has a free service available with some restrictions.

We live in a unique time and in an equally unique geographic area.  Sellers in the COVID era need to consider every advantage that entices Buyers, reduces customer friction, and optimizes processes. Younger Bay Area Buyers will be drawn to companies that have taken steps in the direction of digital transformation.


Jordan Zweigoron is a Senior Advisor with Sunbelt Business Brokers. He can be reached at (408) 436-1900, or at [email protected]. Or connect with Jordan on LinkedIn.