FAMILY businesses should take advantage of the pandemic to reinvent and plan their continuity in the long term.
In an Icon Executive Asia and W+B Advisory Group event for business owners and industry leaders, Steve Legler, a family legacy advisor, said family businesses should plan more for the future in the middle of the pandemic.
“A lot of family businesses have made great pivots and responded really well. Keep going to the future. Don’t assume that this current situation is going to end soon and wait until things get back to normal,” he said.
Legler said family business owners should prepare for any situation that might crop up in the business environment not only for months but also years.
“It’s probably better to say, let’s assume it’s going to be like this for two years. And if it’s really one year, or a year and a half, or six months, and you can switch back sooner but maybe sort of assume that what’s out there might last longer,” he said.
Dr. Josh Baron, founder and co-founder of Banyan Global, said the challenging times like the pandemic often result in the conception of new businesses.
“This is an incredible opportunity for reinvention, for creativity. There are many businesses that are born out of great depressions and recessions and things like this,” he said.
Baron said there are many businesses that are doing things they should’ve done before to reinvent their businesses whether they’re going digital or other innovations.
Moreover, speaking on the topic, “Blueprinting a 100-year-old journey,” with the family business legacy on the line, experts shared insights about family business governance.
Richard Eu of Eu Yan Sang International talked about his experience of overcoming familial challenges and leading a corporate giant that has lasted more than 141 years as a successful fourth-generation successor.
“We wanted to find a way where we could institutionalize the family shareholding. If we could find a long-term institutional shareholder to be partners with us, in the longer term there’s a bit more stability,” he said in his presentation.
Prof. Eric Soriano, on the other hand, talked about the importance of placing family governance structures and processes as a priority even in times of adversity.
Soriano, a family business advisor in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and a World Bank/IFC Governance consultant, highlighted that succession of qualified persons will ensure the survival of the family business.
“Ineffective succession can be caused by factors outside of the family’s control (the sudden death of the business leader) but is more often caused by things the family can anticipate and manage. In short, family issues like conflicts are predictable,” he said. (JOB)