What family businesses have in character and tradition, they often lack in technology and modernization. But at the pace things are moving in the business world, it’s time to modernize or get out.
3 Ways to Modernize Your Family Business
If there’s one thing that all people are naturally hesitant to do, it’s change. By its very nature, change is uncomfortable and curious. And if your business is already fairly successful, you’re probably left asking the question: If it ain’t broke, why fix it?
But truth be told, change is necessary. Just look at big established businesses like Blockbuster, AOL, Kodak, and MySpace – each of which refused to modernize their practices – as examples of the risks of maintaining the status quo. If companies with billion-dollar balance sheets can become obsolete, so can a small business with very limited resources. And that’s all the more reason to respond.
Not sure where to begin? Here are some ways to modernize:
You might not have the same marketing budget that much larger organizations have, but digital marketing allows you to increase your exposure and expand your footprint in a cost-effective manner.
Digital marketing rewards creativity and resourcefulness. And if you use an approach known as “content splintering,” you can do a lot more with less. With this method, you create one piece of content – like a long-form blog post – and then splinter it into dozens of other individual pieces of content (like a podcast episode, social media posts, YouTube videos, LinkedIn articles, etc.).
You don’t need a six- or seven-figure marketing budget to thrive with digital marketing. You do, however, need to take it seriously. Whether you like it or not, business is increasingly moving into the virtual realm. Even if you’re a brick and mortar company, having a digital presence is a must.
It’s not uncommon for family businesses to have disorganized finances, physical books, and a lack of cohesive paperwork. And while these things might seem normal to you, they’re holding you back from being as profitable and productive as you could be.
Not only that, but you’re also compromising your value. Should you ever decide to sell the business, or when you pass it on to an heir, you’re going to leave them a massive mess.
“The heir to your company might not be fond of financial miscalculations falling on their shoulders,” Atlanta Business Chronicle explains. “Meanwhile, you don’t want to transfer a business to someone who isn’t confident in their ability to run it properly. Set them on the right track by syncing all of your financial data records.”
The easiest way to get your financial data records in sync is to move everything over to the cloud. More specifically, you need a centralized platform that allows you to connect the front office with the back office.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software makes the most sense for businesses that want to integrate multiple functions and get organized. More specifically, you want cloud ERP software.
When you compare family businesses with modern startups, there are usually some very predictable things that hold the former back and prevent them from scaling up like the latter. One of those factors is a lack of automation. Thankfully, this is also one of the easiest issues to fix.
As you look for ways to automate your business processes, there are really six different areas of your organization to focus on. We already discussed the first one (office management). The other five are leads, sales, e-commerce, customer service, and customer engagement.
Start with the low-hanging fruit. These are menial, repetitive tasks that require a lot of time, but not a lot of skill. Automating these tasks will free up your team’s time to focus on more important tasks that require creativity.
It’s Time to Catch Up
The time for modernizing your family business is now. This doesn’t mean fundamentally changing your product or branding (which your customers certainly love). Instead, it’s about upgrading your processes and backend systems so that you’re able to operate more efficiently and productively. Get serious about digital marketing, the cloud, and processes automation/standardization, and good things will happen for you.