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Middle Market Monday: Funding, Talent & Economy Top Issues in 2015

There is a lot that can keep a mid-market business owner up at night. But, it appears that funding, talent, and the economy top the list.

These issues came into focus on Middle Market Monday, the annual holiday to celebrate mid-market companies across the United States. This year, over 100 CEOs participated in Middle Market Monday, each sharing their unique perspective on how they will solve the puzzle of growth this coming year.

Here are some of the other key insights we learned on Middle Market Monday 2015:

Middle Market Businesses Are Trying to Close the Talent Gap

  • 31% of businesses said their top concern in 2014 was talent-related, including talent acquisition, training and staff development and retention. 18% said closing the talent gap was a primary goal for 2015, citing specific targets such as doubling headcount and expanding into more talent-rich markets.
  • While 21% of businesses in the Midwest said talent-related concerns were one of the issues that kept them up at night in 2014, only 6% from the Northeast said the same.

Middle Market Businesses Need Capital to Grow

  • 38% cited the availability of funding as a major concern in 2014. 22% described funding as an external factor that would impact their growth. As such 27% list completing a financing process or finding the right financial partner to help them grow a top priority in 2015.
  • 62% of northeast businesses said that securing funding was a major concern in 2014, versus only 27% of respondents in the south.

Middle Market Businesses Rely on Economic Growth, Worry about Policy and Regulation

  • 66% of respondents said the economy, government policy and regulation were external factors that would impact their growth this year.
  • While economic and regulatory concerns are a constant across all respondents, businesses in the midwest (93%) and south (82%) are more concerned with the potential impact of these factors on their business growth than those in the Northeast (50%).
  • 12% of all respondents cite oil & gas prices as an external factor that could impact growth next year. 45% of these businesses come from the Manufacturing and Energy & Utilities sectors.
  • 38% of respondents who cited the regulatory environment as a top concern came from the Manufacturing sector.

Business Owners are Using the Same Language

Through the 100+ responses, it quickly became apparent that CEOs were talking about their problems in the same way, using the same words. Below is a word cloud of the 50 most commonly used words in the submissions:

The middle market will continue to meaningfully contribute to the U.S. economy in 2015 and the decade beyond. In it’s inaugural year, Middle Market Monday aims to create a community for, and raise the visibility of the middle market as a vital engine of economic growth.

Business owners are planning to overcome these challenges by setting aggressive goals for 2015. Some company owners are seeking to realize these goals through organic growth in revenue or employee count. Others, however, are pursuing inorganic methods through mergers or acquisitions. For example, Russ Williams, the CEO of business services firm Archer Malmo of Tennessee, plans to secure new talent through acquisitions expansion into more promising talent markets.

Join us today in celebrating Middle Market Monday! Share and tweet @midmarketmonday and #middlemarketmonday


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