#682 – PwC’s 2017 Family Business Survey

Posted on | The Agurban

PwC’s 2017 US Family Business Survey

PwC recently released their eighth family business survey, which they conduct every two years. Their latest report highlights family businesses’ views on a variety of issues, from 160 key decision-makers at companies across a range of industries. Nearly one-third of the respondents were in the manufacturing industry. Succession planning is the perennial problem for family businesses. Nearly 44% of those surveyed for the 2017 study said that succession planning would be a challenge over the next five years, with only 23% having a robust, documented succession plan in place.

Here is the conclusion from the most recent survey –

Family firms remain a vital part of the US economy, but like all companies in a constantly changing business landscape, they need to remain vigilant. That means taking innovation seriously rather than continuing to do the same old thing. It means anticipating what’s far over the horizon while also actively focusing on the middle distance between the horizon and where the company is now. In short, it means having a rigorous strategic plan.

It also requires family firms to take the following concerted actions:

  • Redouble efforts around succession, beginning with a robust, documented, and well-communicated plan
    • Determine how best to deliver on family businesses’ belief in self-reinvention and sustained entrepreneurial spirit, with an eye on diversification in the face of industry disruption
    • Think positively about the opportunities (and stark realities) that digital disruption presents for the long-term future of the business
    • Empower the next generation, including women, who have a vital role to play in governance, strategy-setting, and all other aspects of the business
    • Devote greater time and resources to professionalization, especially in relation to governance, including greater diversity on the board

While all of this is easier said than done, family firms are up to the challenge. Those that give it due attention are the ones who are likely to endure for generations to come.