SPJIMR study highlights that family issues pose greater headwinds for small and medium Indian family enterprises than the uncertain and volatile business environment
The sentiments regarding their competitiveness in the past three years and their future expectations regarding growth and adoption of technology remain optimistic for these small and medium family enterprises, even though expectations regarding cost increases run high.
Microenterprises reported better business performance than other small and medium enterprise peers. Most microenterprises reported stable or increasing sales, market shares, profitability, Return on Assets, Return on Equity, and profit margins compared to medium enterprises. These enterprises also reported employing a greater or the same number of people as before.
More service sector enterprises reported improvement in business parameters such as sales, market share, profitability, number of people employed, and profit margin on sales compared to manufacturing enterprises and thus outperformed them.
It is on the family side that family businesses face the most significant challenge. While the FBs are governed by clear values and a code of conduct, there is less attention paid to critical aspects such as family governance and planning for succession. This manifests in unclear succession timing, despite an intent to hand over the business to the next-gen family member and a reluctance to let go due to the perceived inability or lack of interest in the next-gen family members.
“Our survey reveals that despite a seemingly difficult and uncertain business environment, small and medium family businesses seem less pressurized by business developments. In fact, family businesses will face greater headwinds from the family side than from the business side, with issues of succession and governance looming large and threatening their business performance. Our survey also sounds a warning bell to family businesses in India- the most common form of business organization. Family Businesses will need to put their family in order, so that they can reap the benefits of an improving business environment,” said Dr Tulsi Jayakumar, Executive Director, CFBE and author of the report.
Pointing to the difficulties of succession planning – a key section of the survey, Dr Jayakumar added: “Management schools and consultants will need to train the senior generation family members of the importance of ‘letting go’ in order to preserve the family business they have invested so much in. Many of the respondents among the senior gen in our survey expressed their intent to continue running the business as long as they could. This would of course demotivate the talented and independent among the next-gen. Transgenerational entrepreneurship can be fostered only through paying sufficient attention to family dynamics.”
The survey, undertaken to study the state of small and medium family enterprises, examined business performance, one-year ahead expectations, state of the family, family business priorities, challenges faced by FBs and succession. The study was conducted from May-October 2022. It involved 350 respondent family enterprises located across 50 Indian cities, from the micro, small and medium enterprises. The full report can be accessed here.
S P Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR) (http://www.spjimr.org) is a constituent of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and is consistently ranked among the top ten business schools in India. With a mission to ‘influence practice and promote value-based growth’ through pioneering programmes and pedagogical innovations, SPJIMR stands out for its unique and distinctive approach to management education.
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