Delivering on ambition: Addressing the ‘missing middle’

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Family businesses have long term ambitions and are rightly proud of their ability to take the long view. They also excel at the day-to-day management of their businesses.

But what our Survey findings have highlighted is that the challenge for family businesses lies in the medium term - the need to have a strategic plan that links where the family is, to where it wants to be. The ‘missing middle’.

This strategic plan is the road map to those longer term ambitions. It needs to address issues like succession, the next generation and the efficacy of the board. It should be used to identify skills gaps and where outside professional talent might be needed to grow the business.

And it’s something which should be reviewed regularly, both within a family context as well as a family business context, as circumstances change and the corporate strategy evolves. 

Explore the topic

Growth and globalisation

Family firms want to grow and export, but in many cases their big ambitions are not being realised. From survey to survey, the number actually exporting shows little change. Something is holding these businesses back, and in our view, that missing piece is a robust strategic plan.

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Digital and innovation

Family businesses pride themselves on their ability to change, but in practice many find this hard. More than a third of our survey respondents think family firms are less open to new thinking and ideas than other companies. So what's the barrier here? Skills, mindset, and culture are all factors, as is the lack of a coherent strategic plan to guide the direction of innovation investment.

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Financing growth

Many family firms fund their growth with their own funds – either because they want to remain independent, or because they find it hard to access external funding. But it's a risk to have all the family's money in one enterprise, even if it's your own. Our experts offer some useful advice on family wealth management.

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Strategic planning

This is the missing piece that would allow many family firms to fulfil their true potential. We look at what makes a good strategic plan, who should be involved in developing it, and how and where to get started on the process.

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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.

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Case studies

'Family, country, and community': Giving something back in South Africa

'Family, country, and community': Giving something back in South Africa

One of the family firm’s great strengths is its rootedness in its community. We’ve interviewed companies for this survey in the past that have been going for over fifty years and have worked with the same suppliers all that time. Many family firms turn these relationships into a unique competitive advantage, and take pride in the positive role they play in creating local employment, and supporting local communities. The Bosveld Group, of South Africa, is a great example.

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Technology, Innovation, People: Growth and diversification in India

Technology, Innovation, People: Growth and diversification in India

In this year’s Survey, 57% of those questioned believe that family businesses are able to re-invent themselves with each new generation. But there are few firms that can demonstrate it as powerfully as the JBM Group in India, recognised for the second year in a row as one of the fastest-growing companies in Fortune India’s Next 500.

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Contact us

Peter Bartels

Global Entrepreneurial & Private Business Leader, Partner, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 40 6378-2170

Peter Englisch

Global Family Business and EMEA Entrepreneurial and Private Business Leader, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 201 438 1812

Siew Quan Ng

Asia Pacific Leader, Entrepreneurial and Private Clients, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 6236 3818

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