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Family Business Survey 2021

Family businesses need to act now to secure tomorrow’s legacy

Australian family businesses are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic in a position of stability. As a result, they are far more optimistic about the prospect of growth over the next 2 years than their global peers.

But, what must they do to deliver on these expectations? We surveyed 120 key decision-makers in family businesses across Australia to delve deeper into the challenges they face and the opportunities that lie ahead.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been a major hit to economies all around the world. But as with the financial crisis of 2009, when it was family businesses who were the first to rebound, they will again lead the recovery in a post-COVID-19 world.

The reasons are twofold: trust and resilience. Family businesses are more trusted than other institutions and leaders and, in most sectors, they are more resilient. In Australia, we have witnessed firsthand the ability of family businesses to quickly pivot in order to adapt in times of crisis. They have also earned a reputation for prioritising their employees and the communities they serve.

But the world is changing, and family businesses must evolve with it.

Now is the time for family businesses to act to ensure their legacy for future generations.



What have we learnt?

Despite the recent downturn, Australian family businesses remain more optimistic about the future. Expansion and diversification are top priorities over the coming two years. However, when it comes to digital capabilities and sustainability, there are challenges ahead.

%

expect to see growth in 2021 (and 91% in 2022)

%

feel they do not have strong digital capabilities

%

expect to see a transition to the next generation within 5 years

%

do not currently have a sustainability strategy





Explore the survey themes

Behind on the digital curve, but opportunities lie ahead

Only 15% of family businesses in Australia feel that they have strong digital capabilities, showing less confidence than their global peers.

However, they are looking to catch up: improving their digital capabilities is their second highest priority over the next 2 years.

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Transition to the next generation imminent, but are they ready?

One-third of Australian family businesses expect that the next generation will become the majority shareholders within 5 years time. Yet only 25% of Australian family businesses have a robust, documented and communicated succession plan in place.

With 70% of business and wealth transfers failing when they occur between family generations, getting this right is critical.

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Environment, social and corporate governance: from afterthought to action

We’ve found that issues related to sustainability are lower down the priority order for Australian family businesses. They are less likely to consider sustainability a key priority when compared to the global average.

With only 36% of Australian family businesses believing there is an opportunity for family businesses to lead the way in sustainable business practices (compared to 55% globally), Australian companies need to step up and do more to demonstrate their environmental, social and corporate governance credentials.

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Ambitions are soaring when it comes to growth

An impressive 91% of Australian family businesses expect to see continued growth into 2022, demonstrating more optimism than their pre-COVID-19 responses in 2018.

This confidence isn’t blind, but is instead based on sound planning and risk management: 83% are prioritising expansion into new markets or products and diversification over the next two years.

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Innowell

Family Business Survey 2021: Global findings

The 2021 Global Family Business Survey findings reveal the current thinking - and future outlook - of 2,801 family business leaders across 87 territories. The findings show that it’s no longer enough to rely on values and legacy to propel the business forward. Tomorrow’s family business requires a new approach for lasting success - one based on accelerated digital transformation, prioritisation of sustainability goals and professional family governance.

Explore the data
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Meet our Private Clients leadership team

Growing a family business can be demanding, exhilarating, and intensely personal. No matter where your business is on its journey to success, we can be at your side with the insights and solutions you need to stay fit for growth and moving forward at the right pace.

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Martina Crowley

Private Clients Business Leader, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 (3) 8603 1450

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