SMEs are prepared for the upswing/One in two companies has adapted its own strategy for the post-Corona period – Study

June 14, 2021

“For most companies, the pandemic represents such a major turning point that it is essential for them to undergo reorientation or determine their current state,” says Andreas Sticher, Partner for Restructuring at management consultancy Staufen. “Among the companies we surveyed, very few have yet to address a specific strategy for the post-Corona period, and 8 percent have not yet completed their strategy development. Just under half of the companies have made significant adjustments to their own post-Corona strategy, while 43 percent have made a very deliberate decision to continue with their tried-and-true strategy.”

Restructuring expert Sticher identified major differences between the various industries in the study. While the service sector sees little need for adjustment, retail will have to rethink the most for the post-Corona era: “Brick-and-mortar retailers are under pressure from two sides, because on the one hand supply chains have been severely disrupted, and on the other hand customers have increasingly turned to online alternatives due to contact restrictions. Across all sectors, however, we see widespread optimism in the economy. Three out of four companies are planning for at least 2019 levels in the post-Corona period.”

Post-Corona agenda: digitalization, agile processes, new leadership culture

According to Staufen consultant Sticher, the increasingly positive mood among SMEs is also due to the fact that many companies have done their homework in recent years and have already initiated internal change processes. In order to make proper use of the upcoming growth phase, however, the path taken must be pursued consistently: “The crisis has ruthlessly exposed previously ignored problems. Major challenges for companies remain digitization, introducing agile processes and flexible structures, and a management culture geared towards high dynamics. These projects, which have to be managed in parallel, tie up many resources, but are ultimately necessary, as the pandemic has clearly demonstrated.”

Currently, only 17 percent of the executives surveyed see their company in an phase of existential crisis, while 36 percent perceive it as a manageable crisis phase. One in four companies has left the crisis behind and sees itself in a growth or even boom phase, while 22 percent take a neutral stance. Andreas Sticher from Staufen AG therefore draws a positive conclusion: “2020 was certainly a challenging year and we still have turbulent months ahead of us. But I do not see the death of the SME sector in Germany.”

About the Study

For the “Restructuring 2021” study, management consultancy Staufen surveyed a total of 200 owners and top executives in Germany in the spring. About half of the companies of the owners and managers surveyed are from the industrial sector, 18 percent are from trade and 31 percent are from the service sector. For the study, only companies with annual sales of at least 20 million euros were considered; just under a third of the companies included in the study recorded annual sales of more than 100 million euros.

Read more about restructuring in the white paper “Predictive Restructuring – Corona Update.” Download:

For more information:



Julia Asenkerschbaumer
Blumenstr. 5
D-73257 Köngen

Mobile: +49 177 6982 019


Thöring & Stuhr
Kommunikationsberatung GmbH

Arne Stuhr

Mittelweg 142

D-20148 Hamburg

Mobile: +49 177 3055 194

About Staufen AG –

Inside every company there is an even better one. With this conviction, Staufen AG has been advising and qualifying companies and employees for more than 25 years. Markets are on the move – the competitive pressure is enormous. Staufen helps to quickly bring about the right changes, increase productivity, improve quality and increase innovative strength. With the appropriate strategies and methods, the international transformation consultancy ensures rapid and measurable success. In order to leverage the potential available in every company, Staufen consultants establish a lively and sustainable culture of change together with executives and employees. The Academy of Staufen AG also offers certified, practice-oriented training courses. From the international locations, more than 320 employees serve customers all over the world. In 2021, Staufen AG was recognized by “brand eins” as “Best Consultants” for the seventh year in a row. According to the renowned industry study “Hidden Champions 2020,” the consulting firm is Germany’s best Lean Management consultancy and was honored several times with the “Best of Consulting” award by the “Wirtschaftswoche” journal.

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