At times of crisis, family businesses are more adaptable and demonstrate the strength of united leadership

April 2020 / The Covid-19 pandemic is producing a crisis in which family businesses will have crucial role to play given their quantitative economic importance. They account for 88% of all private sector companies, contribute 69% of the Value Gross Added (VGA) and generate 76% of jobs. In the current situation, family businesses take decisions to adapt and pivot their businesses accordingly.

The family spirit of companies, according to Pilar Marquès, Director of the Chamber Chair in Family Business at the University of Girona, one of the five chairs in Catalonia sponsored by the ASCEF, provides characteristics that are not to be found in other companies. These include unity of leadership, experience accumulated over the years and by previous generations and the ability to adapt and discover resources in the face of difficulties.

Given the current circumstances, the difficulty of the environment reduces possible differences between family members and mobilises family owners towards company changes in order to withstand obstacles. “Owners consider their company to be more than an investment. They are capable of taking decisions that are not financially optimal but, socially and emotionally, they are the ones that maintain their responsibility and pride in being entrepreneurs,” Ms Marquès explains.

In family businesses, owners regard responsibility for their decisions more personally,” she adds, while “difficulties awaken a fighting spirit and resilience more than in non-family companies.”

The experience accumulated in family businesses over the generations provides good strategic detection: it helps to better understand the environment and the magnitude faced, as well as possible solutions. Furthermore, family businesses are capable of finding solutions to their limitations and possess advantages in assigning their resources to new functions.