Mid-Market Executives Anticipate High Growth By 2022
Despite the challenges they’re facing, C-Suite leaders anticipate high revenue growth over the next year.
March 10, 2021
This article was published on Forbes.com in March 2021.
The pandemic has cost the global economy an estimated $28 trillion in lost output, according to the International Monetary Fund. In the U.S. alone, one estimate foresees that Covid-19 will cut $4.8 trillion from the GDP in the next two years.
In a survey of 1,001 mid-market U.S. executives that Forbes Insights conducted on behalf of Capital One in late 2020, nearly every respondent (93%) reported growth rates of less than 15%. Nearly one in ten (9%) reported declining year-over-year revenue.
And yet an overwhelming majority of business leaders (97%) are in fact optimistic about their companies’ growth prospects by 2022. To understand more about their bullish state of mind, we dug deeper into the survey results.
C-Suite Optimism Holds Firm
Looking forward to 2022, more than half of executives surveyed (53%) expect their companies’ growth profiles to be “high” or “very high” in the next two years. Another 44% of executives foresee “steady growth.”
For the most part, this optimism holds firm across specific executive functions and company size (as measured by revenue). But the data reveals different expectations across industries. Among executives who expect high or very high growth by 2022, these five sectors were best represented:
- Telecom (71%)
- Financial services (71%)
- Media (60%)
- Professional services (57%)
- Public sector (57%)
Challenges On The Road To Recovery
While surveyed executives are marching forward with eyes wide open, there is still uncertainty ahead.
“My advice to any executive is to be balanced,” says Elena Gomez, CFO of software company Zendesk. “Expect more turbulence because we don’t know what we don’t know. We’re not out of the woods.”
When asked if achieving or maintaining greater agility and resilience is critical to their firms’ growth, the vast majority of executives agreed.
And although 55% of executives said their firms were already pursuing greater agility before the pandemic, significantly more (83%) acknowledged that their experience with Covid-19 is compelling their enterprises to become more agile.
Respondents also identified which specific transformational drivers—significant events, developments, initiatives and other catalysts—are critical to their companies’ survival and growth. Beyond Covid-19 response, answers suggest that to repair the pandemic’s damage and prepare for future disruptions, business leaders are taking steps like:
- Balancing capital expenditures and cash flows (42%)
- Responding to shifting economic conditions/volatility (41%)
- Adopting new technologies to drive efficiencies (35%)
When it comes to these mission-critical transformational drivers, few executives expressed concern over product fit (14%) or competitive threats (15%).
This suggests that recovery-minded C-suite leaders are more prone to deploy new structural fortifications than they are to reposition themselves in the marketplace.
These survey results should give other executives and business leaders cause for optimism: Recovery efforts have been underway and are showing results.
One final datapoint should make executives happy: The number of surveyed executives who expect declining growth by 2022 is zero.
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