2016 Family Business Survey

The 'missing middle': Bridging the strategy gap in family firms

This is the 8th PwC Family Business Survey and it’s the largest yet.  We’ve spoken to firms approaching their first generational transition, and those that can measure their longevity in centuries. We’ve talked to founders, next gens, and professional CEOs. We discussed global megatrends such as digital and globalisation, and the challenges of ‘keeping it in the family’.

Key issues stay constant year-on-year, but there is also change.  In 2012, the dominant themes were skills, scale and succession. By 2014, this evolved to a focus on the need to professionalise both the business and the family. This agenda is far from complete, though progress is being made.  This year, the shift is perhaps more fundamental: from the short term and tactical, to the medium term and strategic. 

Watch a replay of the 2016 Family Business live webcast OnDemand

A glimpse of the Survey's key findings

A glimpse into the Survey's key findings


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A glimpse of the Survey's Key findings

The challenge is in the middle: having a strategic plan that links where the business is now to the long term and where it could be. This is what we are referring to as the ‘missing middle’.

Family firms are ambitious: they want to grow and ensure the long-term success of their business, but it is clear that many of the issues they face derive from a lack of strategic planning. Some are doing this, and doing it well, but in our experience, a much higher proportion are so absorbed in the everyday that longer-term planning is neglected. Family firms may lack the skills to develop such a plan and some may assume that ‘thinking in generations’ means that the medium term will somehow look after itself. 

Family firms remain a vital part of economies across the world contributing the bulk of GDP in many territories.  We’re committed to working with family firms and helping them make an even bigger contribution to growth and prosperity.  

Peter Bartels, Global Family Business Leader, PwC Germany  & Stephanie Hyde, Global Entrepreneurial & Private Business Leader, PwC UK                                                                                                                


Explore the Survey themes

The family business sector in 2016: Success and succession 

Family firms are ambitious, entrepreneurial, and committed to the long term. But too many are risking the whole enterprise by not planning properly for the transition between the generations. We look at the best way to make a success of succession.

Bridging the gap: Addressing the 'missing middle'

Family firms can struggle to develop medium-term strategic plans that link their immediate business goals with the long-term ambitions of both the family and the business. This has implications in areas like investment in innovation, and in obtaining finance for growth. What can your firm do to bridge the gap?

Professionalisation 2.0

Professionalising the firm was a big theme in the 2014 survey. What's been achieved since then, and how can family firms take this forward? We look at the full implications of the professionalisation agenda, from the firm, to the family, to the Board and the role of the CEO.


Case studies

Explore the data

Use our data modeler to look at the findings from our Survey in greater depth. 

Explore five themes: Business performance & challenges; global considerations; The family business DNA & succession planning; digital; the people piece. 

Filter the data by territory, industry, generation or turnover.

Compare the data

Contact us

David Wills
Global Leader - Entrepreneurial & Private Business, PwC Australia
Tel: +61 3 8603 3183

Peter Englisch
Global Family Business Leader, PwC Germany
Tel: +492014381812

Siew Quan Ng
Asia Pacific Leader, Entrepreneurial and Private Clients, PwC Singapore
Tel: +65 6236 3818

Alfred Peguero
Tel: +1 (415) 498 6111

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