WHU General

Resisting The Crisis

What small and medium-sized enterprises can do now to survive

The plain figures show a tense picture: One third of all the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany have had to establish short-time working as a result of the corona crisis, and one in five is threatened with insolvency. Many of these are family businesses which are considered the backbone of the German economy. However, Professor Dr. Nadine Kammerlander of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management shows that they do not have to give in to the crisis. In the online course "Getting out of the crisis: What small businesses can do right now", Kammerlander explains which measures can be initiated right away to master the current situation. The practice-oriented lecture was initiated by the Institut für Familienunternehmen und Mittelstand at WHU and the Bittersweet Club.

The corona crisis has so far left particularly grave marks on SMEs. In contrast to large corporations, they often have much less diversification and cannot simply switch to other products or services. In addition, they often lack a strong lobby to make themselves heard in politics, as Professor Nadine Kammerlander points out. Nevertheless, even family businesses are not without protection against the crisis. In order to overcome this economically tense phase, the researcher advises various immediate, short-term, and long-term reactions.

For example, it is highly advisable for SMEs to provide sufficient liquidity to prevent insolvency. To support this, the reduction of costs in the own company is one way. According to Kammerlander, an important aspect in the short term is to increase revenues again. This can be achieved, for instance, by switching production to goods in demand, e.g. protective masks or disinfectants. On the long run, it will be worthwhile for SMEs to invest in radical innovations and digitalization. According to Professor Kammerlander's analysis, it is especially important for family businesses, along all measures taken, to remain adaptable and open to change.

The online course in full-length elaborates on all aspects of immediate, short-term and long-term reactions for SMEs during the corona crisis.

See also an interview with Professor Nadine Kammerlander on this topic in the latest episode of "Campus TV" (in German).