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Top Priorities for European Family Businesses

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The FINANCIAL — Europe’s family businesses are confident about the future but must become more agile, innovate faster and attract top talent to remain competitive and continue to grow.

These are among the key findings of the latest European Family Business Barometer which surveyed 1,576 family business executives in 26 countries across Europe, published by KPMG Enterprise and European Family Business (EFB).

The European Family Business Barometer is the seventh survey of Europe-based family businesses and reveals that family businesses continue to build on the momentum of past strong economic growth.

Investing in innovation and people to fuel growth

Europe’s family businesses are planning for growth. Almost one quarter (23 percent) plan to expand and diversify their products to drive future growth and more than half (54 percent) plan to expand into new markets.

One of the key strategies for growth is embracing innovation. Respondents are capitalizing on past growth and reinvesting profits into the business. The majority (86 percent) are investing in the core business, 83 percent are investing in innovation and technology, and 81 percent are investing in recruitment and training. This is also a direct response to the top two challenges facing respondents: the skills shortage (53 percent) and the rising cost of labor (36 percent).

In this increasingly digital and technology driven world, Europe’s family businesses also recognize the need for new skill sets and capabilities among leadership. One third of respondents are considering hiring an external CEO.

Managing volatility

With Brexit, growing protectionism and contentious trade talks front and center on the world stage, it’s not surprising that more than one-third of respondents (36 percent) cite political uncertainty as a top concern and challenge. Still, Europe’s family businesses are navigating their way through, taking a long-term approach and being proactive in their talent acquisition and streamlining decision making to ensure that they have the agility to respond to changes in real time.

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