78% of Spanish companies, and 86% globally, expect to recover the precovid growth rate in 2022, according to the family business survey prepared worldwide by PwC , which analyzes the economic status of SMEs and the impact that the pandemic has had in them.

A recovery that, in the opinion of the partner and executive director of the financing company Kreedit, Jordi Solé Tuyá , has as a major obstacle the uncertainty about the definitive end of the pandemic . “As long as there are probabilities of a new spread of the virus, either one or another variant, there will be uncertainty and this will stop company investments and the hiring of personnel,” he said.

The study by the consulting firm PwC collects confidence data from the Edelman survey on family businesses , which the consumer considers more trustworthy than other institutions and, therefore, more resilient in times of crisis -as already happened in 2009-. Thus, 67% of those surveyed by Edelman in 2020 trusted more in family entities, compared to 58% who opted for public businesses.

67% of those questioned by Edelman trust family businesses
“Family businesses can help to regain trust based on competence and ethics,” explains the partner in charge of PwC’s Family Business, María Sanchiz, although she assures that it will require “a change in mentality . ”

Like any business, there is an entrepreneurial culture. In this case, particular for being familiar. Conflicts in family businesses are inevitable: only 21% of those surveyed in Spain say they have never had a conflict ; while more than 75% admit that they exist. The normal thing is that they are managed within the family, without resorting to third parties or resolution mechanisms, which, the report points out, could explain why high levels of conflict continue to exist.

Challenges and opportunities
As reflected in the PwC document, digitization will play a key role in the recovery , something that is on the minds of those surveyed, since 60% consider that it will be the main investment priority in the coming years.

However, this priority is now a challenge to be drawn. Only 19% of family businesses have completed their digitization strategy, which means that a large majority (81%) still have to work that path . In Spain, these data are aggravated: only 14% have completed this phase. As they point out, the next generation of entrepreneurs can be key in innovation and technology.

For Sanchiz, a greater investment in digital tools is necessary to achieve another of the pillars of the impulse of the family business: economic sustainability. Although 55% of family businesses say they are willing to promote sustainability issues, only 37% of those interviewed worldwide – and 41% in Spain – have a clearly defined and communicated strategy.

In addition, “it is necessary that sustainability be a fundamental piece in its operations and in its long-term business strategy,” the report claims.

Speaking of Next Generation EU funds , European recovery stimuli “are directly linked to this digitization”, which, in the long run, according to Solé, “will make SMEs more efficient”.

The executive director has indicated as one of the main challenges for the recovery of growth to know when to withdraw the economic stimuli deployed by national and European public entities -just now when the American Federal Reserve is proposing an early withdrawal of stimuli- to compensate the stoppages of activity and the economic losses generated due to the pandemic.

By Rak Esh

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