When COVID-19 struck, the net value of those generational assets grew exponentially.
Having several generations involved in addressing the impact of COVID-19 increased many families’ ability and interest in taking their businesses in new directions. With this focus on the future, our latest collaboration with the STEP Project Global Consortium has included important research on the impact of COVID-19 on family businesses globally, and the multi-generational influence that has enabled them keep looking forward.
Our Global family business report: COVID-19 edition titled “Mastering a comeback: How family businesses are triumphing over COVID-19”, highlights the actions that family businesses have taken to stabilize their businesses, and the amplification of a bold new strategic outlook that we believe is putting many family businesses in a strong position to lead the global economic recovery.
We found that family businesses were quick to realize that more involvement and input was needed from the entire family as they began to understand the immediate impact of the pandemic and the need to have a clear view of its future prospects.
In many cases, retired family members came back into the business to share the actions they had taken to successfully manage unexpected business and economic crises in the past. Tapping into the historical memory and experiences of previous generations paid off by accelerating their ability to stabilize the business quickly.
The pandemic also opened up opportunities for young, tech-savvy family members to take on prominent roles by introducing digital technology solutions to streamline their business operations and to develop a host of new digital products and services.
As my colleague, Christian Rast, Global Head of Technology & Knowledge, KPMG International, pointed out in a recent blog post on the Top 10 tech trends of 2021, “2020 was a year of massive digital change in response to COVID-19. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that digital transformation and adoption are no longer optional – they’ve become a business imperative and can make all the difference between the future and the failure of an organization.”
We have many NextGen influencers to thank for accelerating their firms’ digitization agendas. We also can thank them for making the integration of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) and business strategies an urgent priority for the transformation of many family businesses. By sharpening the focus on ESG, they have expedited the operational changes necessary for achieving environmental and societal goals, and firmly embedded ESG as a strategic business priority.
This is what making the business fit for the future looks like.