13th Annual Growth Strategies Survey Findings

SURVEY POPULATION

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

Revenue growth in 2018 was slightly lower than in 2017 but remains high relative to the past 10 years. The percent of respondents claiming “no change” continues it’s 5-year downward trend.

How “robust” are your forecasts?

If you split the difference between forecast & worst-case scenario, you get actuals

Businesses exhibit continued & growing economic optimism heading into 2019.

Key issues facing CEOs in 2019…

PEOPLE

Among this survey’s respondents, 2018 saw slightly lower growth in employment base than initially forecast. Only 19% of area CEOs, however, reported a decline in their employee base. 2019 predictions are stronger than real growth in 2018, indicating CEO optimism about their organizations’ resources for finding and making new hires.

When asked about their top people-related priorities for 2018, 52% of CEOs reported finding and keeping good people, 9% said developing the management skills and competency of key people, and 16% said improving sales performance.

In particular, finding and keeping good people has risen dramatically as a priority from 2018 to 2019. It seems to be a key focus of many area CEOs – it’s the #1 priority overall, by far, for more than half of businesses surveyed.

TOP PRIORITIES FOR 2019

Overall, respondents cited finding & keeping good people, increasing revenue, and increasing gross profits as top priorities for 2019. Interestingly, the biggest differences from 2018 include the top two items—finding and keeping good people (up 14% points) and increasing revenues (down 18% points).

MARKETING

Though online and digital marketing channels continue to grow in importance, networking is still king. The most notable increases from 2018 to 2019 include 6% point increases in both online social networking and search engine optimization (SEO).

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