The Future is Uncertain
In the short term, as they continue to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, CEOs are worried about top-line growth, customer experience, and employee wellness. Looking out over a longer horizon of 3 – 5 years, CEO worries will shift, in priority order, to human capital, execution, market uncertainty and access to capital. Lessons learned from the pandemic in terms of the need for people and leadership, more customer-focused execution and more flexible supply chain management have been taken to heart. Market demand and the impacts of uncertain domestic regulation and foreign competition point to the uncertainties that CEO’s and executive leadership will need to navigate.
Middle-market CEOs and business owners have clearly faced one of the most challenging periods their companies will likely ever encounter as a result of the COVID19 pandemic and associated economic and market fallout. Some CEOs, by virtue of the industry they happen to operate in or based on the specific actions they took in response to the pandemic, have fared better than others over the past year. Looking forward it is imperative business owners remain focused on sustained growth in the new and uncertain operating environment we find our ourselves in.
Regulatory uncertainly, driven by changes in monetary, fiscal and tax policy requires companies maintain clear contingency plans to help them navigate a range of potential outcomes. What also remains unclear is which specific COVID-related impacts, such as working from home or significant reductions in business travel, will become permanent, structural changes in our economy, as opposed to COVID-related impacts that revert back- — in part or in full – to their pre-COVID status.
What is clear is that we will be feeling COVID “aftershocks”, such as disrupted supply chains, for quite some time. This is particularly challenging for the many companies seeking to drive revenue growth by delivering a streamlined, end-to-end customer experience in both the B-to-C and B-to-B sectors. Providing a robust “omni-channel” experience going forward will require middle-market businesses develop an even stronger set of internal and customer-facing capabilities to satisfy their customers.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, CEOs and business owners must improve their focus on the leadership and human capital dimension of their business. The future middle-market winners will be the companies that develop a highly-engaged and agile workforce, enabling them to compete successfully in the battle for clients and talent. The past 15 months has demonstrated more than ever that leaders who are capable and prepared to lean into change will reap outsized rewards for themselves and their businesses.
As we all continue to navigate through this era of unprecedented disruption and change, Newport will continue to stand beside our clients, treating their business like our own – committed to helping them succeed and thrive.
To learn more about how Newport can help you achieve your business goals, visit: www.newportllc.com.
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Newport is a strategic business advisory firm, working with founders and CEOs of privately held, growth-stage companies to accelerate growth, improve performance, and successfully exit their businesses.
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