IT Support for Family Owned Companies
With Family Day upon us (3rd Monday of each February in B.C.) now is a great time to discuss family-owned operations. When most people think of a family-owned business, they imagine a quaint brick & mortar cafe, a pizzeria, maybe even a small accounting office on the corner. But the reality is that there are thousands of SMBs, SMEs, and even large enterprises with family members making up the bulk of the literal or figurative boardroom. Heck, Walmart Inc. has a 48% family shareholding. Yes indeed, there are film studios, broadcast companies, hoteliers, and financial services in addition to the smaller local businesses that are family owned.
But despite the many successes, there are certainly challenges that can limit growth opportunities for family businesses. One of them comes from a lack of attention to IT infrastructure. Here’s why you need to invest in IT.
4 Reasons Why Your Family Owned Business Needs to Increase Investment in IT Support
I. Overcome Traditional Resistance to Digital Transformation
Family businesses are inherently ones steeped in tradition. That is great when it comes to product integrity and highly personalized service, but it does not translate to technology. For your company to grow, or even remain competitive for that matter, you must join the other companies in your industry that have accepted the inevitability of digital transformation (DT). You may be met with some resistance by family members who are a part of the decision making process, so please do have them read this guide to the necessity of DT. How they respond will make or break your company in 2021 and beyond.
II. You Need to Lead by Example (for Them)
Since you’re the one reading this, you’re one of the top decision makers (or the primary decision maker) in your family business. That means the others look to you to lead by example. This may have worked well in sales, marketing, human resource management, and all other aspects of the way you run the business. But unless you are educated and trained in your IT systems (including hardware and software applications) then you need to bring in IT support. In addition to filling gaps, IT consultants will help educate YOU on technological processes (including budgeting) as they apply to your company. This will increase your own knowledge and skill base, which spills over and fills the confidence levels that others have in you as their leader. In addition, when they see that you are invested in digital transformation (item #1 above) the rate of adoption and “buy in” from others in the company will increase significantly. View more on why top level executives need dedicated IT support to thrive in 2021.
III. Cybercriminals Specifically Target Family Operations
Deloitte, one of the world’s leading risk audit and advisory organizations has put family businesses on alert:
“Cyber threats to family offices are numerous and real. Extortions, frauds and cyber-enabled physical threats can have a significant impact on the family offices’ finances and reputation, and on the safety of the family themselves.” (Deloitte)
Within their document they have released some startling statistics about family operations. In a recent year, over 30% of family businesses suffered losses from cyberattacks. Yet despite this fact, nearly 50% of respondents state that they do not have a cybersecurity plan in place. The latter statistic is exactly why hackers are going after family-run operations, they assume (often correctly) a laissez-faire attitude about investing in advanced cybersecurity.
While implementing stricter password policies and updating anti-virus software can help, these will not mitigate the risk of more advanced threats. One of the threats that is especially effective against family operations is spear-phishing. This is where hackers learn as much as they can about their targets and then send emails (or SMS) requesting everything from access to data to fund transfers. Since family operations are often more open about personal information on company websites and social profiles it is easy for hackers to get the details they want. These details allow them to successfully execute their malicious campaigns upon family members in the company along with other staff.
An IT consultant will protect your company from advanced threats by leveraging not only their deeper knowledge base on cybercrime, but by affording you access to software tools that employ artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. This is the only way to stay one-step ahead of new malware strains and modern tactics.
IV. Maintain Positive Relations
Last but most certainly not least – is to make sure that there is no love loss between family involved in the business. Blame for IT failures and slip-ups that impact operations can quickly turn into life-long tension. It’s one thing for this to happen between general shareholders and executives, but when it’s between relations that cost is simply too high. By removing the responsibility for key tech areas in your business from a family member who simply has a “knack” for it, and moving it into the hands of a trained and highly-skilled expert, you remove the potential for IT failure and blame. And don’t worry about stepping on any toes here, as even if your daughter, son, sibling, or cousin is trained in IT, an IT consultant can serve them in a supportive capacity versus making them redundant.
Help your family business grow to the next level by securing better IT support. Contact SAV Technology today to discuss what we can do for you.