The new reality of COVID-19 has been with us since the end of the first quarter of 2020. This has led to dramatic changes in several ways:
- For national economies. Growth has suffered and is now negative (as of the end of 2020) for most economies, with the exception of China.
- For corporations. A reduction in demand (and revenue) for most firms, perhaps with the exception of the larger ones in the high-tech virtual sector.
- For the family firm. A need to adapt quickly to the new virtual realities, and thus to abandon many of its traditional businesses (manufacturing, distribution, restaurants, hotels, etc.).
- For the consumer. A move towards virtual reality (working from home, shopping from home, no concerts/theatre/movies/sports events, etc.). New consumer propensities are emerging!
Perhaps the most surprising effect of all might be how fast, and seemingly how permanent, many of these changes seem to be. We are all faced with the challenge of being more adaptive, and even more proactive.
In the enclosed, I have reprinted five articles. All were written during the coronavirus outbreak period. They are primarily based on two sources of input:
- Factors received from my involvement in Lorange Network processes, above all through inputs that I have been chairing, as well as from discussions with individual managers of the Network.
- Considerations stemming from decisions taken at my own family investment firm, S. Ugelstad Invest (SUI).
The five articles all fall into one group, and were all originally published in The European Business Review. They all deal with various consequences of COVID-19, such as working from home, new challenges for good due diligence, what types of investment criteria to focus on now, as well as which factors now seem to enhance corporate success. A successful case study is also presented.
As will become clear from this, the very way we think about corporate strategy may have to be revised:
- More of a short-term focus
- What are our customers’ key needs as of today?
- Competitors that are in place are becoming even more critical, relative to potential winners sometime in the future.
I hope that you will find the collection of some use. If you have comments or questions, please contact me at peter(at)lorangenetwork.com
Küssnacht am Rigi, December 2020
About Lorange Network
The Lorange Network is a digital network based on an innovative approach to executive education and business development, for family businesses, family offices, private investors, entrepreneurs and high-level executives. The Lorange Network sees continuous learning and business opportunity exchange as essential to business success, long-term value creation and personal development.
“I founded the Lorange Network in mid-2017 with the purpose of providing short, topical briefings to family businesses, family offices and investors. Our membership base now also includes entrepreneurs and top business leaders,” says Dr. Peter Lorange, Chairman and CEO of Lorange Network. He adds, “The network is based on the concept that lifelong, real-world learning can help businesses with their investments to become more successful. We offer our members relevant digital events (webinars, workshops, round tables, special presentations and investor get-togethers), as well as succinct, practical and neutral insights (articles, executive profiles and book reviews). They choose, via their own PCs, tablets and smartphones, when they want to learn, interact and network. We offer the framework, space and content.”
Dr. Lorange explains the origins of the Lorange Network concept. “When I was exposed to a new opportunity as an investor and family business leader, I often turned to my close professional contacts for short briefings that resulted in fresh, current, unique expert advice for my own queries and thus brought me closer to investment success. Getting that first-hand knowledge from key experienced individuals who were already doing relevant deal types, acquisitions, market entities or other types of projects themselves, is what has helped me the most in my family investment office’s ventures.”
Karin Mugnaini, President and COO, states, “Our written content is produced by our hand-picked, independent, leading academic and professional experts. Themes are family firm management, wealth management, best practice and governance, next-gen and talent-development, as well as social entrepreneurship. Topics include succession planning, impact investing, philanthropy, leadership, progression, family values, wealth management and many others. We regularly run digital events which host impressive figures from diverse industry sectors. Our members get inside outlooks from people at the top. We have also worked with the Financial Times, Headspring, IE and other leading organizations.
Per Lorange, Head of Deal Wall and Co-investments, adds, “We launched a ‘Deal Wall’ back in 2018, where many of our premium members post projects when they are looking for co-investors. These co-investors come from our membership base of more than 3,000. The Deal Wall hosts investment opportunities that cover private equity ventures, shipping, real estate and other relevant opportunities. Up to now, we have posted over 35 deals and run seven online investor get-togethers supporting those deals, matching the entrepreneurs or founders with potential investors.”
Since its October 2017 launch, the Lorange Network has been growing steadily. Premium membership is priced at USD 500 per year. A free Basic version is also available, but with only limited access to the network’s features. Premium membership includes unlimited access to the insights and its co-investment Deal Wall, “Ask Peter Lorange” and “Ask the expert” consulting services, other community engagement via discussions, chats and threads, as well as physical events and digital gatherings.
Karin Mugnaini continues, “The energy we promote at the Lorange Network reflects forward thinking and future growth focus. We like to concentrate on supporting our members to find solutions to dilemmas, and also to create opportunities for business development. We also work closely with a select group of organisations, companies and associations who share similar values. This provides more stimulating material and input, and opens up networking to broader groups and eco-systems.”
Peter Lorange adds, “This year has gone very well for us at Lorange Network, despite COVID-19. Because we have been a networked organisation from the start, the switch from mostly digital to fully digital has been smooth. We have also been able to help many of our member companies to adapt quickly to this new business environment.”
Dr. Peter Lorange is a successful academician, entrepreneur and owner of a diversified family business (S. Ugelstad Invest). Educated at the Norwegian School of Economics, Yale University and Harvard Business School, Lorange is the recipient of a doctorate from Harvard and six honorary doctorates. Lorange has board experience from several listed companies, including Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Kvaerner, ISS, Seaspan and Globalpraxis, as well as with Copenhagen Business School. Lorange is the former president of IMD in Lausanne, Oslo Business School, and founder and owner of the Lorange Institute, which was later sold to CEIBS. He has been a professor at MIT (Sloan) and at Wharton, and has also been head of the Lauder Institute. He has authored/co-authored some 20 books and more than 150 articles.