Business leaders see profit relying on loyalty

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on February 5, 2004

The majority of business leaders in the US (73%) foresee a more profitable future, with 88% expecting revenue increases in 2004, relying on customer loyalty, and on capitalising on existing core competencies, according to a survey of middle-market businesses by Grant Thornton.

According to the most recent US Census statistics, middle-market businesses (those having annual revenues between US$100 million and US$2.5 billion) account for US$3 trillion in revenue each year and employ nearly 20 million Americans - more than the combined Fortune 500 companies.

"Middle-market business leaders are sensing an end to the uncertain business climate of the past few years and planning for future profitability," said John Desmond, partner in charge of the Grant Thornton Business Leaders Council. "With fierce competition still a factor for many, customer loyalty and core competencies are key to achieving this anticipated growth."

Growth focus
With their profitable outlook for the future, business leaders say they are beginning to focus more of their efforts on growth. Some 89% of the survey's respondents are focusing on the growth of their business or beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel (81%).

According to Desmond, flexibility and agility are essential as businesses try to strengthen customer relationships; almost all of the business leaders interviewed (97%) said that flexibility and agility are important as their company pursues growth opportunities. One in three (30%) of the business leaders reported that leadership style and values from the upper management downward are the top factors contributing to such flexibility and agility.

"Agility is often seen as a competitive asset for middle-market companies," explained Desmond. "Business leaders know that, in order to stay ahead of the competition, they must be more flexible than larger competitors and rely on the depth they offer beyond smaller competitors."

Communication focus
But while almost all middle-market companies' communications priorities focus on involving senior leadership in discussions about the company's vision and goals (96%), business leaders are also including employees company-wide in strategic company communications.

For all employees, many companies are aligning performance metrics with corporate goals and compensating accordingly (85%), and communicating the value proposition (83%), and transparently sharing company information (75%).

The bi-annual survey, 'Grant Thornton Survey of Middle-Market Business Leaders', is conducted by independent market research firm, Wirthlin Worldwide, among more than 300 US middle-market business executives. The report has been made available by request, by contacting Grant Thornton.

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