Optimism and Insights from Mid-Market CEOs about Business Growth

Optimism about Business GrowthAs Chief Relationship Officer for CEO Connection I receive the results of our monthly Mid-Market Index, “A monthly poll designed to determine and regularly represent the thoughts, issues, and levels of confidence of CEOs of mid-size companies with $100 million to $5 billion in revenues.”

We believe the Index provides valuable data from the perspective of the mid-market C-Suite; a perspective that is important and deserving of attention but usually lost among small business surveys and Fortune 100 reviews. Mid-Market companies are a bellwether of the economy, offering insight into real growth in all regions of the world.

The organization also believes these companies are essential to the global economy. Their $3.84 trillion annual contribution to the U.S. private sector GDP alone ranks them as the equivalent of the world’s fourth largest country.

Because of their importance I wanted to share with you results of our most recent surveys:

1. The CEO Connection Mid-Market Index reveals that CEOs of these companies agree with Starbucks’s Chairman and CEO Howard Shultz that business leaders must be catalysts for change.

  • Nearly nine out of 10 mid-market CEOs (87 percent) believe business leaders must be catalysts for change and (42 percent) would be willing to accelerate hiring at their own companies.

2. Mid-Market companies overwhelmingly believe that a downgrade of the major European economies by Standard and Poor would have little to no impact on their businesses.

  • Nearly eight out of 10 surveyed CEOs (80 percent) believe if Standard & Poor’s downgrades Europe’s biggest economies it would have little to no impact on their businesses.

3. Mid-Market CEOs are increasingly optimistic.

  • The large majority (83 percent) said business conditions in their industry this month were the same or better than last month and 24 percent indicated that business was better or significantly better in their industry this month compared to last month. This is up from the November Mid-Market Index, when 75 percent responded that business was the same or better and only 13 percent indicated that their business was better of significantly better.

4. Mid-Market CEOs have confidence in their ability to grow organically in 2012.

  • A majority of CEOs surveyed (56 percent) intend to grow their business organically in 2012. This expectation of growth may be fueled by their confidence in their industries.

If the mid-market truly is a bellwether for the direction of business in 2012, we can all feel optimistic about the potential for growth. Are you optimistic, and if so, why?


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  1. Great post, Lisa. It is encouraging that CMO’s are embracing the need for change. Jeffrey Hayzlett, author of Running the Gauntlet, said that business leaders need to focus on change on his appearance with me on Mad Marketing TV. http://youtu.be/MsHX3bJyX6o

    In this economic slump, it is also encouraging to see that CEO believe in organic growth. I hope they are investing in really smart marketing to do that.

    Thanks Lisa.
    Jeff Ogden

    • Thank you, Jeff and I agree with you – it’s very encouraging. As a marketer, I’m hoping the same thing you are, along with smart innovation and developing stronger relationships with customers. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  2. Thanks Lisa for the reminder that mid-market is so important. While the media naturally focuses on the larger corporations, the mediums are where change can happen more easily. German industry realized that a while back and made it work.
    Alan Kay´s last blog post ..How to use a Monkey to Facilitate Change

  3. Paul Brinkman says:

    Hi Lisa! Found you through @manamica via Twitter. Excellent summary but, above all, thank you for your work. Currently, I manage a handful of initiatives that, together, tip well into your category. Over the course of the last five years, we’ve gotten leaner, more strategic, deeper leveraged and no less committed to innovation, which has been our biggest advantage all along. My concerns include diminishing returns in productivity, change-master communications strategies and “race to the bottom” pricing. As always, quality of staff remain critical but the importance of quality vendor/partners may be at an all-time high. I remain cautiously optimistic. Best to you in your ongoing efforts.

    • Paul,

      I am honored that you found me through Mana and appreciate your very kind words! I also appreciate you sharing with me what your concerns are, and that even with them you remain cautiously optimistic. I shared a report on US Competitiveness by Harvard’s Michael Porter yesterday on Twitter that you may find interesting: bit.ly/zEKtGT. Thank you for being here and wishing you all the best!

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