Changing the Business Landscape

In her article on Entrepreneur.com, Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software explains how she used emerging technology to beat the odds and position the family business for the future.
While keeping the core values of the company, Parsons transitioned the company’s main software offering–a Windows-based tool which helped small businesses put together business plans–to a web-based software service. They still offer business planning tools but now it includes a management dashboard to help businesses track their progress against the goals in their budgets and forecasts.
The Family Business Institute reports that only 30 percent of family-owned businesses survive to the second generation. To help you beat those odds, Parsons offers the following advice:

• Recognize that change is good. “Consider pivoting the business model to keep up with the changing financial landscape.”
• Stick to core strengths. “Don’t forget that customers are still expecting its core message and offerings to be same, yet evolved and improved over time.”
• Plan ahead. Change can mean a hit in finances. “My company’s transition resulted in a drastic change in revenue for the short term. For years, it had relied on one-time sales of a desktop product. After the transition, most customers began to pay a monthly subscription rather than a larger sum up front. My company had to budget for taking in less revenue each month. Overall, it was a game changer for the business long term and my company is able to provide a better product.”

Technology can be a great equalizer for small businesses. Communications, routing and office functions can all be streamlined using technology instead of a large group of people in your office.
Your salesforce can get a great boost from technology. Having your company’s website up-to-date and optimized for searches is more important than ever. More than 80 percent of all product and service research begins with a web search. Pew Research says that leads that come from a search have an eight times greater likelihood of closing compared to other leads.
Research shows that 70 percent of buyers view four or more pieces of content when considering a purchase for a product or service. Seventy-one percent of buyers trust brands which provide useful information without trying to sell them something. For business-to-business companies, 67 percent more leads are generated when they create content.
So, whether you are pivoting your business model or saleforce toward the future, make sure you keep up with changing trends and how they affect your business and your customers.

To see the original article, “How a Family-Owned Firm Can Beat the Odds and Pivot” go to www.entrepreneur.com/article/235447.

story by Jennifer Taylor

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