CIT Study: Middle-market companies poised for growth in 2013

New York -- More than half (53%) of middle market executives believe that their companies are on solid ground, according to a survey by CIT Group Inc., a leading provider of financing to small businesses and middle market companies. (In order to be eligible to participate in the survey, respondents had to be in a leadership role at firms with revenues between $25 million and $1 billion, the majority of whose employees were based in the United States.)

Additionally, the majority of respondents reported that, during the next 12 months, their companies are likely to: increase the range of products and services they offer in current markets (65%); expand into adjacent markets (58%); and enter other geographic regions (54%).

The study, “CIT Voice of the Middle Market: Perspectives from the Heart of America’s Economy,” also found that 42% middle-market companies expect to expand their workforce in the coming year.

In other findings:

  • Overall satisfaction with financing proves high. Eight in 10 middle market executives (81%) report that they are satisfied with their company’s access to financing, as well as the cost of financing for their company. Most also say that they are satisfied with the variety of financing alternatives available to their company (79%).
  • Looking ahead to the next 12 months, middle market executives express concern about continued economic uncertainty at the national level (83%) and talent management — the ability to retain top talent (59%) and to hire top talent (55%). Additionally, more than half (56%) are concerned about compliance with federal regulations, and healthcare reform tops the list of existing or pending federal legislation or regulation with the greatest impact on their companies.
  • Many middle market companies seem to fall short on their strategic management capacity. Based on the findings of the study and questions about company strategy, organization structure, effectiveness of business units, measuring and rewarding performance, and organizational culture, researchers developed an index to rate the management capacity of middle market companies. According to this index, only 26% of middle market executives represent companies that have strong strategic management.

KRC Research, on behalf of CIT, fielded an online survey among 300 U.S. middle market executives representing a range of industries. Researchers conducted fieldwork in the summer of 2012. In order to be eligible to participate in the survey, respondents had to be in a leadership role at firms with revenues between $25 million and $1 billion, the majority of whose employees were based in the United States.