Statistics say that an overwhelming number of millennial business owners would like to use modern technology to make managing their businesses easier and more efficient. However, if it is a family-owned business, taking steps towards modernization is a lot more difficult compared to large corporations.
The younger generations tasked to run family businesses also have a hard time convincing the rest of their families to get on board with their modernization plans, and it is due to the older generation being raised in a different time and with a different culture. The older folks believe that “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”, and the problem with this belief is it causes a lot of missed opportunities for growth.
Here are the top three technological trends that affect today’s family businesses and could have an important impact on them in the future.
Taking the Family Business Online
One of the biggest trends right now is using technology to reach a wider audience. Oftentimes, family-owned businesses are offline, meaning they rely mostly on their brick-and-mortar location to generate profits. These businesses are not taking advantage of the internet to reach more people, and be able to compete with the other small companies that took their services online.
Adding new, high-tech communication channels is one of the most important steps towards the success of any business in these modern times. For instance, a small business can benefit from having an online presence by allowing them to reach thousands of people, if the business is promoted well. If people are presented with a convenient way to find information about the products of a business, and maybe even provide the option of purchasing them online, they will choose to do so.
Although it is very important, and almost a requirement, for big multi-million companies to use the latest software development technology lest their competition leave them behind in terms of growth; however, the practice can also be beneficial for startups and small, mom-and-pop businesses.
AI for cost optimization
If you think convincing the older generation to bring their businesses online, think how difficult it would be to make them trust Artificial Intelligence for help. A lot of multi-million companies use AI to make better decisions, be more efficient when assessing raw data, and most importantly reduce operating costs. However, using AI to help a family business is an entirely different thing.
An AI program can help a family business by taking into account the management style and business processes used by the previous generation of managers, and coming up with suggestions to make things run more efficiently. For instance, a small apparel store can use AI to gather data on people’s purchasing habits using predictive analytics, which the management can use to make targeted suggestions for the people who visit the website of the business to increase sales revenue.
Blockchain for higher transparency
Aside from AI, blockchain is also one of fast rising technological trends nowadays. Blockchain is the technology behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that are currently in circulation. One of the biggest benefits of using blockchain is its high transparency, which can help in fighting fraud and corruption in the workplace; this is admittedly tough to do using traditional means (ledgers, manual records, etc.).
For instance, instead of keeping a thick ledger containing the serial numbers of your products, you can just use blockchain to create an extensive database. Use a QR code on the label, which when you scan will provide all the important information about the product. This also makes the inventory easier to update when needed.
It can be quite difficult to convince the older generation to be more accepting of using new technology, even if it is for the good of their small family business. It is up to the new, younger generation of managers to implement these changes once they gain the reins of the business.
The old saying “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” is not always applicable, especially in the world of business. It does not matter if a family business is not “broke”, if the competition left it behind when it comes to technological innovation then it is good as dead.