"New normality" is now part of everyday life in most Mittelstand businesses
Mittelstand businesses have largely adjusted to the "new normal" due to the Corona crisis. Accordingly, the new evaluation of the "Mittelstand Future Panel" shows that challenges of "strengthening innovation and competitiveness", "digitasation" and "meeting the demand for skilled workers" are once again the main focus of business management. For the special evaluation, representatives from business, researchers and economic policy were surveyed online in the period from March to June.
"Nevertheless, there are of course sector differences," explains project manager Dr Annette Icks. "Working under corresponding hygiene concepts and distance regulations has largely become routine in the industrial and service sectors. The hotel and catering industry as well as the creative and entertainment sector, on the other hand, are still far from the so-called new normal. "
Top measure in the crisis: securing liquidity
During the severe corona pandemic crisis, securing liquidity had a tremendous significance for Mittelstand businesses in the view of all expert groups surveyed. In this context, the representatives of economic policy certainly saw themselves as having a responsibility to support Mittelstand businesses in weathering the crisis: "Developing an exit strategy", "stabilising value chains" and "maintenaning employment levels" are among the top ten challenges for them, which is in contrast to the other expert groups. At this point, the experts of the business community viewed economic policy in particular as having a duty to create planning security for Mittelstand businesses and to avoid further lockdowns.
According to the researchers, companies need to learn how to deal with exogenous shocks such as the Corona pandemic. "Interestingly, they do not seem to explicitly consider the use of digital strategies in crisis management. This suggests that they think the companies are well-positioned with regard to new technologies and that employees seem to be able to work digitally without any problems," concludes Dr Annette Icks.
The chartbook "Challenges of German Mittelstand businesses in the Corona Pandemic" is available on the homepage of the Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (www. ifm-bonn.org). The detailed study "Mittelstand Future Panel" with all relevant practical and economic policy topics will follow in the coming weeks.