Intentional Growth

#214: A Deep Dive into 10 Years of Research on the Highest Performing U.S. Private Companies

Intentional Growth
#214: A Deep Dive into 10 Years of Research on the Highest Performing U.S. Private Companies
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Privately held companies in the middle market ($10M - $1B in revenue) account for 1/3 of the US GDP as well as 44.5 million jobs. Unlike the stock market, we can’t just jump online and see how well they are doing. Today we’re diving into mountains of data on the middle market with former Managing Director of Harvard Business Review and Editor of Fortune.

What You Will Learn In Today's Podcast Interview

  • Why the top private companies cluster into 3 typologies: investors, innovators, and efficiency experts.
  • The 7 key factors that contribute to the growth (and are under the owner and management’s control)
  • How to focus on enterprise value instead of just annual profitability
  • How privately held companies in the middle market are dealing with uncertainty
  • How COVID has impacted the likelihood of different types of transitions for middle market companies
  • Why the middle market consistently outperforms the S&P 500
  • The 5 “COVID cushions” to manage uncertainty
  • Why the middle market is where businesses become companies
  • How an entrepreneur transitions to the CEO role by thinking beyond the lifespan of an individual or company 

 Podast Summary:

Quarter after quarter privately held middle market companies post higher rates of growth and employment than the public or lower markets.

In general, it is hard to understand how middle market companies operate since a majority are privately owned—today Tom Stewart explains how these businesses are doing things differently to grow faster than their larger and smaller peers. 

Tom is the Executive Director of the National Center for the Middle Market. He was also the Editor and Managing Director of Harvard Business Review for six years and participated in the World Economic Forum twelve timesthroughout his career.

Tom and the National Center for the Middle Market are dedicated to researching and understanding the middle market economy. This organization, housed in the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University, is the only research group that focuses on mid-sized companies. They have surveyed 1,000 midsize companies each quarter for the past ten years, giving them the necessary data to fill in the information gap on the middle third of the private sector.

Here is a link the research on the DNA of the Middle Market

As usual, a group of top tier middle market companies is responsible for a large percentage of this growth. By understanding what contributes to the growth of these companies and what they do differently to consistently outperform their peers, the Center identified 3 types of companies and 7 pillars of growth that are fundamental to their success. 

About the Guest:

Thomas A. Stewart is the Executive Director of the National Center for the Middle Market, the leading source for knowledge, leadership and research on mid-sized companies, based at the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University. Stewart is an influential thought leader on global management issues and ideas: an internationally recognized editor and publisher, authority on intellectual capital and knowledge management, and a best-selling author.

Before joining the National Center for the Middle Market, Stewart served as Chief Marketing and Knowledge Officer for international consulting firm Booz & Company (now called Strategy&), overseeing the firm’s intellectual agenda, major research projects, and strategy + business magazine. Prior to that, he was for six years the Editor and Managing Director of Harvard Business Review, leading it to multiple finalist nominations for a National Magazine Award. He earlier served as the editorial director of Business 2.0 magazine and as a member of the Board of Editors of Fortune magazine.

His new book, Woo, Wow, and Win: Service Design, Strategy, and the Art of Customer Delight (co-authored with Patricia O’Connell), was published by Harper Business in November 2016.

 

Podcast Interview Quotes:

12:14 - “This is where a business becomes a company: in the middle. It’s where an entrepreneur becomes a CEO and has to make that transition.” - Tom Stewart

39:00 - “The moral of the story is: preparation, preparation, preparation.” - Tom Stewart

49:50 - “Uncertainty is the single hardest thing to manage.” - Tom Stewart

57:44 - “It means that I have, in the back of my head, a long term goal that I’m trying to get to. I once heard Bill Clinton say, ‘If you’re getting to a goal, you never sail directly toward it.’” - Tom Stewart

58:00 - “Intentional means to me, my tactics may vary but I have intent. I have a purpose. I know what I’m trying to get to.” - Tom Stewart.

 

Links and Resources:

Previous episode with Tom: Secrets of Growth: Data, Trends, and Insights from the Middle Market

Middle Market Center website

LinkedIn: Thomas A Stewart

Mastering Your Cash Flow Digital Course

ARKONA Boot Camp

Reach out to me if you have questions about the boot camp!

You can also reach out to me via email at rtansom@arkona.io, on my LinkedIn.


Brought to you by Ryan Tansom of Intentional Growth