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

PwC’s 2017 US Family Business Survey

Over the past decade of surveying family businesses...

...we’ve noted recurring themes: an entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to the community, and a focus on long-term strategic thinking and legacy.

We’ve also seen an ongoing blind spot regarding succession planning and the requisite good governance that should underlie it. This disconnect speaks to the overall theme of this year’s survey report - the missing middle, e.g., the medium-term strategic planning needed to help ensure the family business thrives in the future.

This year’s survey provides interesting findings that we explore here and in the report.

How PwC can help

PwC’s Family Business Services leverages these findings to help family firms develop comprehensive solutions around business strategysuccession planninggovernanceprivate wealth and philanthropy. Our clients span first generation to six generation and beyond.



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Dr. Justin Craig, Co-director of the Northwestern University’s Kellogg Center for Family Enterprises, on the importance of PwC’s US Family Business Survey.

The 2017 US Family Business Survey visual story at a glance:

The key to succeeding and thriving in today’s competitive marketplace? Strategic Planning for the medium term.

What goes hand-in-hand with strategic planning for the medium term? Innovation

Entrepreneurial vision likely started the family business, but it is continued innovation that will help family firms bridge the gap between the current moment and the long-term future.

What does it take? To remain innovative, a company needs to pause and take time to think beyond the immediate demands of the day-to-day and make judgments about what the picture might look like two, five, or ten years out. What trends are driving change and affecting the market? What products could be vulnerable to new technology? What competitors might emerge around the next corner? How can your business fit into the future marketplace? These discussions will keep innovation alive in your company and help prepare your business for ongoing success.


Contact us

Shawn Panson

US Private Company Services Leader, PwC US

Tel: +1 (646) 471 6101

Jonathan Flack

Partner, US Family Enterprises Leader, PwC US

Tel: +1 (615) 503 2866

Alfred Peguero

Partner, PwC US

Tel: +1 (415) 498 6111

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