Is strategic planning more difficult for family-led businesses?


There are many enterprises across a variety of sectors that are being run with a family framework in mind. Whether its startups that have little more than a good idea or huge conglomerates relying on themselves to preserve their dynasties, leaning on relatives in business can often prove fruitful.

However, do such companies find it difficult to be objective when it comes to strategic planning?

Well, according to research collated by Ernest & Young (EY), the answer appears to be no, but there are a number of caveats to consider.

Integrating innovation

Even the most well-run family businesses will occasionally get into situations where conflicts of interests present themselves. Remaining level-headed when there are business decisions to be made and personal relationships potentially at stake is by no means easy.

However, those that look to innovate and approach any planning for the future progressively will be the ones that find success.

EY’s research outlined that the best family-run businesses typically remain entrepreneurial and committed to their industry best practices well into their second generations and beyond.

An eye on the future

To that end, there is a whole host of research that maintains that the best strategic planning processes will be enabled along a vast timeline, rather than just focussing on the here and now.

In a family-run business, that fact resonates when it comes to succession planning. Having the right system in place to identify who is going to lead the company going forward is critical for any enterprise, but the person passing the torch between relatives needs to have a clearer idea than most.

In EY’s research, it appeared as though many family-centric organisations have taken this into account when planning for the future, with 87 per cent having systems in place to handle expected hand overs as well as any potential emergencies.

Deliberate strategic planning is crucial for any business, but in the case of family-led companies in particular, it’s key to ensuring that their legacy continues long into the future.