Female car factory engineer

How family businesses can cultivate resilient growth

Family businesses are operating in a new economic environment that requires rethinking business strategy to deliver ongoing growth and profitability.

In brief
  • To grow over the long term, family businesses need to reexamine their strategic positioning within a rapidly changing business environment.
  • Awareness of new S-curve trends, including supply chain disruption, exponential technologies and talent constraints, are creating a new competitive arena.
  • Businesses should refocus strategic planning and reassess needed capabilities for growth to avoid interference from the new S-curve and related megatrends.

The extent and speed of change are now upending long-held assumptions about global economics, competitive environments and business models. This is especially relevant for family businesses, whose owners wish to build businesses for the long term. Since the pandemic, almost unnoticed, a new economic S-curve has replaced the post-World War II S-curve.

S curve graphic

It is now accelerating and bringing new challenges that affect the growth or profitability for many family businesses. While the challenges will be different for any given company, it’s clear that family businesses are now operating in a world that requires a reexamination of strategic priorities to avoid disruption, remain competitive and to fulfill their owners’ long-term ambitions.

“Family businesses that act now to address macroeconomic and operational changes in their strategic planning will be better positioned to support increased resilience and sustainable growth,” says Bobby Stover, EY Americas Family Enterprise and Family Office Leader.

Disruptive trends 

Business growth graphic

Three key S-curve trends

Although a business growth strategy should account for any of the relevant new S-curve challenges, many family enterprises are assessing these three trends to more effectively compete in a rapidly changing world.

Four tips to adapt to new S-curve trends

Refocusing the traditional strategic planning process to emphasize the impact of new S-curve trends can equip family enterprise leaders for these challenges and others, while helping their businesses to endure and stay in the family for generations.


Cultivating a more valuable and resilient family enterprise in the new S-curve environment is required for ongoing business growth and minimized disruption. In turn, developing a business growth strategy to meet these challenges starts with assessing your current capabilities relative to your future aspirations, using relevant data when examining the enterprise’s strengths and weaknesses, and determining what skills, resources and technological tools will be required for future aspirations to be realized. With that information, a family enterprise can clarify strategic priorities, opportunities and challenges and build an action plan that can help achieve increased resilience and sustainable growth.