Going digital | Inquirer Business


My book on family businesses is now an e-book!

Ruel de Vera, Inquirer Books head, says: “I am proud to present the second product of our Inquirer Books Digital Originals line, the e-book of the bestselling ‘All in the Family Business,’ already on second printing and selling briskly on Shopee and Lazada. This e-book version is identical in every way to the printed book, and is the special offering of Inquirer Books in our participation in the online Manila International Book Fair this week. Readers can get the e-book on Amazon, Lazada, Google Play Books and Apple iBooks.”

Thank you, readers, for your support of this column and the book. Inquirer launched its first “Young Blood” e-book last month, and this e-book on family businesses is Inquirer’s second. In this pandemic, a digital offering is timely and relevant.

Digital tools

“I am a second generation, and in charge of information technology in our family business,” says reader W. E. “My father and my uncles recognize the importance of technologies to streamline operations. Can you share how other family businesses use digital tools?”

My reply:

Family businesses equate information technology (IT) as digitizing the current way their processes are run, but they can harness these tools further, such as creating new ways to engage customers.

When accounting firm Deloitte surveyed ecosystems of regional family businesses in 2018, they discovered that 45 percent used digital tools to improve processes—like what your family is doing now.

Digital tools are used in other ways: 38 percent successfully reduced costs, 22 percent created new revenue sources, 21 percent did new business models, 17 percent used technology to engage with talent.

“Many business leaders see digitization mainly as an operational improvement play without fully considering its other potential applications,” says Deloitte. They should “explore extending use to other areas, such as innovation, the development of new business models and talent—for example, using digital platforms.”

Aside from operations, use IT to do marketing.

Digital marketing is growing, particularly in this pandemic, when many people are often online. Compared to traditional marketing, digital marketing costs less and attracts customers outside the usual base.

Social media is nimble, enabling your family to adjust promos, offerings and so forth as quickly and as needed.

Finding yourself“I worked in our family business for three years, but in this pandemic, I took a break to try something new,” says reader R. T. “My parents took it well, since my other siblings are helping out. I tried a couple of things, but none worked out. But I fear that my friends are building their careers, while I am wasting time searching for what I want. What’s your advice? I am 26.”

My reply:

You are fortunate to be able to stop work amid this uncertain climate, and to have parents who support your search for your dream job.

Exploration is not a waste of time, as long as you build skills that are useful in a range of fields, and learn why your choices did not work out. Trying and failing is not a waste, but ensure that you derive lessons from such.

To help you discover your calling, reflect on your strengths and talents.

“Strengths are what we’re drawn to or energized by,” says UK psychologist Vanessa King in her book “10 Keys to Happier Living.” “Talents are what we’re naturally good at: areas where we learn fastest. Reflect on what you’ve always loved to do. What’s at the essence of those things?”

King adds that “stepping stones may not go in a straight line.” So update your skills when needed, such as taking online courses that ignite your interest.

I started with math, then psychology, and along the way, segued into family businesses and mental health.

This was not straightforward, but I integrate all into my mission now, with an interdisciplinary perspective that better responds to clients’ needs and contributes to personal fulfillment.

Queena N. Lee-Chua is with the board of directors of Ateneo’s Family Business Center. Get the printed version of “All in the Family Business” at Lazada, or the e-book at Amazon, Google Play, Apple iBooks. Contact the author at [email protected]

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