Strategy & growth

Family business strategy and growth case studies
Study on IPO underpricing and family firms (in German)
Family business executive education

When your strategic view is measured in fiscal years… as well as generations

As a family-owned business you have the same concerns as purely public companies—strategic planning, finance, tax, operational effectiveness, compliance, competition, people management, technology and infrastructure, and of course, growth.

But you have an additional layer of concerns as well. Your business strategy must also embed the unique needs of the family—including succession and financial planning, long-term stewardship, tax structuring, and legal matters.

Determining the optimal strategy isn’t easy, but with the right advisor to help you make the right choices, you can transform your business vision into reality.

The 360-degree approach to strategy and growth

Across the PwC global network of firms we have extensive capabilities, resources and people dedicated to helping family businesses like yours assess (and reassess) their operations and potential for growth in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Our advisors can help you develop—and implement—sophisticated strategies that are optimised for your unique business and family. We use creative analysis and rigorous tools to ground our insights, and generate key initiatives to measure and identify any areas needing adjustment as your strategy rolls out.

Embedded in all our services is an understanding of the powerful role innovation plays in a growth strategy. We help our clients structure and allocate their limited resources to deliver a profitable return on investment—and market share.

Wherever you may be doing business, and whatever business you may be doing, PwC’s family business services professionals understand the unique dynamics and needs of the family enterprise. We have the footprint and world-class tools of a global business advisory powerhouse and the agility and deep understanding of the unique needs of family businesses like yours.

We invite you to contact us to learn more about how we can help you meet your goals.

Case studies

The client's challenge

The management of a large, family-owned fruit processing company wanted to increase margins and grow in the B2B sector—a strategic business decision that required approval by the family advisory board.

To make their case, the team knew they needed both deep market intelligence and clear actionable insights—from evaluating the feasibility and financial impact of various product/market combinations to painting a holistic competitive landscape. But they lacked the in-house expertise and scale to conduct this level of strategic analysis.

Our response

We helped our client conduct the appropriate market research, analyse business cases, review potential scenarios and develop a road map for growth. This enabled the management team to make sophisticated business decisions, interacting seamlessly with the family advisory board—with optimal results for both the business and family.

The client's challenge

This firm had been in family hands since its establishment over a century ago. Although the family no longer manages the company directly, they advise and supervise senior management through a family council.

In recent years, the family was concerned to see an appreciation for its long tradition, heritage and culture fade—in particular among middle management. They wanted to make imparting a deeper internal understanding of these values a strategic objective.

Our response

We first helped the client define and implement a balanced scorecard (BSC) to measure how well the strategic goal was being executed. We then worked with the client to link selected performance metrics from the BSC to the managers’ remuneration.

With this new lever in place, the client was able to reward behaviour that supported the strategy—and the family saw a much better identification with its core business values.

The client's challenge

Following a major acquisition, a leading family business in the food and beverage industry wanted to create a global procurement organisation that would be responsible for the management of indirect supply to all operating units of the enlarged organisation.

The client wanted to realise significant savings through efficiencies and scale, but also wanted to ensure a smooth transition into the company’s business practices and culture.

Our response

Drawing from our extensive procurement experience, we helped the client set up a global indirect procurement organisation that reflected industry best practices. We helped all current employees affected by this change understand clearly how it would affect them, including new roles and expectations.

We also provided senior leadership—which included both family members and external managers—with tools to help them communicate appropriately with all other stakeholders across the business, including employees of the new indirect procurement organisation.

This included creating an employee playbook for all people within the new organisation covering topics such as the family firm’s vision, mission statement and strategy, and the new company’s structure and stakeholders.

The client's challenge

A seventh-generation family firm, a niche player in the consumer goods industry, was faced with substantial seasonal business volatility, immense cost pressures and the need for constant innovation.

Unfortunately, the company’s business results were below target, also falling short of the expectations set by the family council. The client was concerned about the risk of management’s over-focusing on short-term cost reductions at the expense of longer-term growth and the maintenance of strategic options.

Our response

We carried out a thorough analysis, including benchmarking, of the firm’s strategic planning and operations. We then helped management implement a database-driven enterprise planning system tailored to their business and designed to be an accurate approximation of their business environment.

With these powerful new tools in place, the firm was able to ensure that their strategic and operational plans were much more reliable. These also gained the full acceptance of the family council, and helped secure the long-term growth of the family business.

What makes family businesses different?

Insights from around the world