2022 Family Business Forecast - Conway Center for Family Business

Is family business booming? central ohio leaders are satisfied with their mid-year performance

Optimism persists despite ongoing challenges with hiring, inflation, and commodity costs

The 11th Annual Family Business Forecast survey, conducted by the Conway Center for Family Business, revealed that 9 out of 10 Central Ohio family business leaders are satisfied with the current state of their family business at the midway point of 2022.

More than half (57.8%) of Central Ohio family business leaders predict their business will be in an even better place by the end of the year, and 65% expect to increase hiring throughout 2022.

Encouraging responses about regional business performance stands in contrast to overall concern about the direction of the national economy, and elevated concerns about recruiting talent, inflation and rising commodity costs.

The Conway Center fields the Annual Family Business Forecast to gauge the economic climate – including employment and related challenges – among family businesses in the region.

Family Businesses Struggle in Search of Right Candidates

While 65% of family businesses plan to increase hiring for the remainder of 2022, “finding qualified workers” remains the single most significant business challenge reported by the majority (60.5%) of family business leaders surveyed.

Other challenges that emerged in the first half of 2022 included “Inflation” (50.9%), “Supply chain issues/delays” (49.4%), and “Commodity or materials cost changes” (37.0%).

“Recruitment of qualified candidates who fit a family business’s culture has consistently been a top pain point identified by the annual Family Business Forecast,” said Bea Wolper, President of the Conway Center for Family Business. “Even more in 2022, our members are looking for new ways to bring in − and retain − talent in a business environment defined by rising costs and limited resources.

The Family Business Forecast found that a majority of Central Ohio family businesses will lean on referrals (82.5%) and online/other job listings (76.3%) to help fill open positions. More family businesses indicated use of social media or advertising (63.8%) as a method to source new hires than ever before in the annual survey.

Diminished Outlook for State, National Economy; Reasons for local optimism

Only 28% of Central Ohio family business leaders have a positive outlook on the U.S. business climate for 2022. This is a dramatic decrease compared to survey responses just one year prior, when 3 in 4 respondents reported a positive outlook.

Sentiment for Ohio’s economic outlook is slightly more optimistic, with 4 in 10 family business leaders responding with a good impression of the state’s business climate. More than 8 in 10 shared a positive outlook for the state in 2021.

“Family-owned businesses have been hit by one national crisis after another in a remarkably short period of time,” said Jill Hofmans, Executive Director of the Conway Center. “Which makes it all the more encouraging that Central Ohio family business leaders report they are meeting and exceeding their 2022 goals and expectations.”

Despite shared concerns among Central Ohio family business leaders about economic trends largely outside of their control, survey respondents shared an appreciation for the factors driving regional economic growth. When asked why Central Ohio is a good place to run their family business, respondents cited:

  • Infrastructure (ease of access, convenient roadways, parking, public transportation) – 62.5%
  • Cost of living/rent – 58.8%
  • Perceived economic direction – 52.5%
  • Availability of business resources – 32.5%
  • Quality of workforce – 30.0%
  • Inter-business collaborative culture – 27.5%

The Conway Center addresses the need for shared business resources and collaboration with educational programming and peer group facilitation through its relationships with service provider experts to help family businesses address challenges, including attracting, training, and retaining top talent.

Family Business Leaders Concerned about Energy Costs, Supply Chain Issues and Inflation

Mounting threats beyond hiring concerns threaten to impact regional family business performance. An overwhelming 9 in 10 of those surveyed say gas/energy costs and inflation will have a negative impact on their family business for the remainder of the year. Additionally, 8 in 10 add that supply chain disruptions and wage pressures will also negatively impact business in 2022.

Family business leaders see a longer-term positive impact to their business from federal infrastructure investments and news that Intel will establish production locations near Columbus.

“Family businesses are resilient − by investing in people and culture, family businesses foster a sense of commitment that helps performance and employee retention during economic downturns,” said Hofmans. “By maintaining the values of family business and using the great resources available in our region, we are confident that our members will continue in their successes and play an important role in Central Ohio’s exciting economic future.”

The 2022 Family Business Forecast survey was completed by 84 family-owned business leaders in and around Franklin County.

Download the full 2022 Family Business Forecast infographic.

About the Conway Center for Family Business

The Conway Center for Family Business is Central Ohio’s resource for educational programs, resources and networking opportunities to support the growth and success of family-owned businesses. The Center celebrates the successes of family-owned businesses at its annual awards program and offers peer group opportunities for next-generation leaders, family business leaders, and women family business owners. The organization includes more than 200 family-owned businesses from Central Ohio that employ more than 35,000 individuals.

For more information, contact us here, by email at jhofmans@familybusinesscenter.com, or by phone at (614) 253-4820.

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