How Can Family Businesses Stay Competitive in the Digital Age?
Family businesses are the backbone of the American economy, accounting for more than 50% of all businesses in the United States. But as the millennial generation takes over, these businesses are facing a new challenge: how to adapt to the digital age.
Problem 1: The Millennial Mindset
Millennials are the first generation to grow up with the internet and social media. They are used to getting what they want, when they want it, and they expect businesses to be able to meet their needs in a digital way.
For example, millennials are more likely to shop online than previous generations. They are also more likely to use social media to research products and services before making a purchase.
Problem 2: The Technology Gap
Many family businesses are still operating using outdated methods. They rely on paper records, manual processes, and face-to-face interactions with customers. This can make it difficult for them to compete with businesses that are using technology to streamline operations and improve customer service.
For example, a family-owned bakery that still uses paper records to track inventory may have difficulty keeping up with the demand of a millennial customer who wants to order online and have their order delivered to their door.
Solution: The Opportunity
The good news is that technology can help family businesses bridge the generational gap and stay competitive. By investing in new technologies, family businesses can improve their efficiency, productivity, and customer service.
Here are some of the ways that technology is transforming family businesses:
Cloud computing allows businesses to access data and applications from anywhere, at any time. This can help businesses save money on IT costs and improve collaboration between employees.
For example, a family-owned construction company that uses cloud computing can easily share blueprints and other documents with employees who are working off-site.
Mobile devices are changing the way that businesses interact with customers. Businesses can use mobile apps to provide customer service, take orders, and promote their products and services.
For example, a family-owned restaurant that uses a mobile app can allow customers to order food and pay for their meal without having to wait in line.
Social media is a powerful tool that businesses can use to connect with customers, build relationships, and promote their products and services.
For example, a family-owned clothing store that uses social media can run contests and giveaways to engage with customers and drive traffic to their website.
Additional Tips for Smooth Adoption
The millennial generation is poised to transform family businesses. By embracing technology, family businesses can stay competitive and thrive in the digital age.
Here are some additional tips for family businesses that are looking to adopt new technologies:
- Start small: Don’t try to do too much too soon. Start by implementing one or two new technologies and see how they work for your business.
- Get input from all generations: Make sure that everyone in the business is involved in the decision-making process. This will help to ensure that everyone is on board with the changes.
- Be patient: It takes time to implement new technologies and see results. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results.
With a little planning and effort, family businesses can use technology to their advantage and thrive in the digital age.