4 Ways Technology Benefit Family BusinessSyah Ismail
In today’s rapidly evolving digital world, maintaining and scaling a family-owned business can be a daunting task. Family businesses bear the same concerns as any company, and this includes strategic planning, operational efficiency, compliance, marketing, and sales. Though, unlike conventional businesses, family-run businesses more than often face a set of unique challenges. For instance, strategic success is not measured just in fiscal years, but in generations.
But thanks to technology, various innovative advancement have enabled family-run businesses to maintain, scale, and even compete with their larger counterparts. Tech-driven advancements proposed myriad benefits to these small and medium businesses in keeping ahead of their costs, staying ahead of the game, and most importantly scale monumentally to achieve their objectives and missions.
How Technology Benefits Family-owned Businesses?
Most family businesses don’t feel the need for enterprise software – or an elaborate website. But as businesses grow, adding products or services, as well as customers and employees, it makes sense to invest in technology to accommodate the growth. Does that mean family-owned businesses need to invest in an ERP or supply chain management system? Probably not. At least not right away. But these four cloud-managed, IT and automation products, all targeted at small and medium businesses, can scale any small family-owned, e-commerce or brick-and-mortar business a lot easier.
Opting for a full-service e-commerce solution, as opposed to a simple shopping cart plugin, seems to be just the most beneficial option for a family-run business, SMEs, SMBs, and Startups. With such an option, planning and execution are vital in order to scale and compete with other multinational counterparts. This is why a Singapore’s homegrown family-owned bookstore, The Buku Bookstore make it compulsory for its 95 years old family business to establish its own e-tail platform.
Since graduating in 2013, Syarafina Halim decided to step-up her father’s bookstore by incorporating e-commerce technology by exploring customers’ buying habits and she “wanted the message of the e-commerce site to be clear; it’s a bookstore, and it has books, and it’s an inviting space.” Thus, she devoted a couple of weeks to sign up for free trials with a few e-commerce sites which allowed her to experience the available features and help her to build her very own e-commerce site.
Syarafina’s story of innovating her family’s history-rich bookstore by merging e-commerce with her dad’s legacy is one example how family-run business can always stay ahead of the competition. E-commerce is truly the holy grail of retail, as business software giant like NetSuite emphasized how their SuiteCommerce was built with the idea that e-commerce is no longer a stand-alone channel but a core business component. SuiteCommerce enables businesses to move from siloed online, in-store and phone shopping channels to an integrated commerce solution that seamlessly connects e-commerce and in-store POS to order management, inventory, merchandising, marketing, financials and customer service. Learn more about NetSuite’s SuiteCommerce by watching the video below or talk to our Singapore’s NetSuite specialist here.
SuiteCommerce enables businesses to seamlessly connect every step of a multichannel, multi-location business — from e-commerce, POS and order management to merchandising, marketing, inventory, financials and customer service.
2. Cloud Managed Productivity Tools
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well, this phrase may ring true in some instances but neglecting to update technology is a serious common mistake some family businesses make. The problem stems from the viewpoint that some family business leaders may have — we’ve been fine this far, why change now? The answer is that family businesses should be aware of their environments and adapt to the market trends as they transition into the second and third generations in order to stay competitive. The only way to do it? Staying up to date on the kinds of technology your family business needs to run efficiently by merging modern technology such as online productivity tools like Google’s G Suite.
Established over 20 years ago, Philz Coffee knows it all too well the need to upgrade their business’s game-plan by adopting modern tech solutions for their day-to-day operation. G Suite’s line of online tools can help Philz’s family business improve efficiency, streamline service, improve products, enhance the business brand, and ultimately stay more competitive, profitable and on a track for growth. Some of the most imperative G Suite’s features that have benefited Philz Coffee are:
- Store and protect digitized information
- Automate processes, such as reporting and invoicing
- Work off-site to improve productivity
- Cut costs by helping managers examine spending and by streamlining tasks
- Gain insight into the financial performance of the family business (with accounting and financial management software)
- Expand services to improve convenience for the customer (such as acceptance of credit cards)
Learn how G Suite automates and streamlines Philz Coffee’s day-to-day productivity and subsequently assist their team to achieve more — better, faster, and definitely smarter. All in all, the most important factor in deciding how to invest in technology is to balance the investment with the benefits your family business needs. Talk to our Singapore G Suite experts to explore more on G Suite and how you can purchase the technology using Singapore PIC Grant.
3. Digital Marketing and Social Media Sites
Relying solely on a website or a single online shop is probably not enough if family-owned businesses are aiming to reach wide targeted audiences. Truth is, marketing is changing; the way people browse, research purchases and make choices is changing, and marketers have never had to work harder or smarter to keep up. So how does a multigenerational family-run business can keep up with the modern ever changing internet marketing landscape? As sophisticated as it sounds, Debug (a 25 years old pest control family-run company) has proven that the integration of both old (personalized service with a smile from trusted people) and the best of the emergent digital marketing is fruitful. Here are some of the takeouts from the case study:
#1 Search Engine Optimization – Make Great Landing Pages
Debug did the smart thing and built out a quality site, with landing pages for all the niches they served, focusing on well-written, useful, and relevant content for different geographical areas, different pests, and different markets (commercial and residential)
#2 Conversion Rate Optimization – Experiments That Work
To stay afloat in the savagely competitive online world, efficiency is key. Focusing on website costs money and time so it’s essential to get the maximum value from each and every session.
#3 Trust & Visibility in the Social & Search Landscape
Long gone are the days where Google was the only place to go find the best local plumber, internet users are increasingly swinging towards real advice from real people. That means social media sites, reviews, and comparisons. Consumers are no longer have to take the Google algorithm’s word for which plumber is the best in town. We can now ask our own networks quickly and easily or see reviews from other users. It’s all about trust.
Here are some of the recommendations for modern family businesses to modern digital marketing:
- Develop useful, visually compelling pages for your niche. You have expert knowledge of your field- share it!
- Use a tool like VWO.com to perform conversion tests. Get expert help if you need it – a good CRO expert can step up tests fast
- Get likes, mentions, and reviews on social media from friends, family and happy customers. Don’t be shy about asking your contacts for help
- Use retargeting to give potential customers a friendly nudge after they leave, but while they are still about to buy in your market. Combine those four with the skilled service and smiles that have kept your business going for a generation, and you’ll be poised to grow for years to come
4. Modern Cloud-Managed Business Software
A family-run business must be well aware and manage its costs efficiently to stay in operation. Advancements in cloud computing technology have enabled these types of operations to cut costs through accounting and various other software — such as NetSuite’s ERP that calculates business spending over multiple categories to assist in calculating profit margin so that a small business can see if it’s expanding, or what it needs to do to grow.
Take the Lucy Locket’s case for instance — facing an upgrade of Microsoft Dynamics NAV that ran its finance and operations, the 20-year-old family-run business had grown frustrated with the time and costs required to maintain the on-premise software. They wanted a solution that would free its business of IT maintenance, while at the same time offering the robust international functionality and customization capabilities required to stay ahead in the competitive children’s retail space.
Lucy Locket considered SAP Business ByDesign but was swayed by NetSuite’s unified omnichannel cloud platform that provided a single real-time view of customers, orders, and inventory across its multiple channels. Read more on how Lucy Locket Powers International Growth with NetSuite, or talk to our NetSuite experts
PIC Claim for Family Business, SMEs and SMBs
Singapore’s Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) Scheme is available if your company qualify for any of tech-related products as aforementioned. If you would like PointStar to assist you with any of the IT and cloud products above, feel free to talk to our consultants and experts. We advocate the digital transformation of family-owned businesses, SMEs and SMBs in Singapore as we believe it is the way forward. Our team is certified as a Practising Management Consultant (PMC) and works with numerous Singapore Government agencies such as SPRING, IE Singapore, and IMDA amongst others to help ‘digitally transform’ Singapore-based business to be more ready for the future through the cloud platform.