Deloitte Middle Market Study Has Some Troubling Findings

A recent Deloitte survey of middle market company managers* found that the managers think that the US and Canadian markets will have the slowest growth in the world in 2012. While that is not going to happen (as both markets are actually growing as fast as most other developed world markets), the management sentiment is still both confusing and somewhat troubling.

The more troubling findings of the Deloitte study were that it showed that middle market managers generally believe that they are not in control of their own business growth.

The study found that middle market managers believe that the biggest obstacles to growth in general are:

  • The continued down market effects of a weak housing market
  • Government budget cutbacks
  • Rising health care costs
  • Poor overall consumer confidence
  • European debt crisis related issues


Another ranking in the same study of middle market manager sentiment listed out what those managers believed were the obstacles to growth for their specific companies:


  • Uncertain economic outlook making investment decisions too risky
  • Weak general market demand
  • Increased regulatory compliance issues complicating operations and costing resources
  • Cost of raw materials rising
  • Health care costs rising
  • Government budget cutbacks
  • Keeping up with technology requirements
  • Skills shortage
  • Availability and cost of credit


Remarkably, only 1-2 of these listed obstacles are remotely under the control of the managers. Said another way, in the majority opinion of middle market company managers, company growth is beyond their means.

For the most part, we believe that the opposite is actually the truth. Based upon our client work, we believe that most middle market companies have at any given time multiple viable opportunities to increase value via top-line growth initiatives.

Just a sampling of the growth initiatives that we have frequently and successfully used with clients include:

  • Generating incremental top-line via integrated growth planning. Planning that usually integrates specific spending and resource utilization plans, KPIs to track results and compensation planning to drive performance
  • Driving value from new customers via pro-active prospecting plans
  • Improving strategic decision making through a business assessment process
  • Improving promotional spending and pricing effectiveness
  • Leveraging company strengths and core competencies

The Deloitte Middle Market Study is called “Mid-market perspectives – 2012 report on America’s economic engine”.  It can be found at the following link:

* A total of 528 senior executives representing 21 industry sectors and 44 states provided insights on a broad range of topics for this year’s survey.