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Greater Cleveland Partnership Blog
Which local institution serves more than 60,000 local residents annually and has produced over 900,000 graduates—with 85 percent continuing to live and work in our community—during its 50-year history?
The answer: Cuyahoga Community College.
Cuyahoga Community College—or Tri-C as it is best known—is a vital part of our region’s higher education and workforce development network. It provides affordable and quality academic and job-training programs that benefit students of all ages.
The Greater Cleveland Partnership has endorsed and is encouraging a YES vote on Issue 4—the Cleveland schools’ capital levy. Its passage will support education reform efforts that are under way in Cleveland.
And it’s not a tax increase!
The levy’s funds will be used to help ensure that Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) students are educated in an optimal learning environment. The levy supports a key goal of The Cleveland Plan: To ensure that every child in Cleveland attends a high-quality school and that every neighborhood has a multitude of great schools from which families can choose.
More than 100 Northeast Ohio employers are members of the Commission on Economic Inclusion, a program of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, and support our mission is “to make Northeast Ohio the best region in the country for the inclusion of minority individuals and businesses in the economic engines that drive our competitiveness.”
But what is the value of a Commission membership? Why do companies want to belong?
One company’s story
Gareth Vaughn, president of The Albert M. Higley Company
, a prominent Greater Cleveland construction management firm, tells his story in a column in "The Commission Connection" e-news letter.
As technology increases the reach, flexibility and bottom line for middle-market companies, it also leaves them vulnerable to cyber attack.
Data breaches in major corporations such as JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot, Target and Google are all too common. Even the government is not immune, with ongoing data security problems at Healthcare.gov.
Middle-market managers may believe they are less likely targets because they aren't as large or well known as a Google-sized firm. However, middle-market companies usually mean middle-sized security, making them easier-to-breach and attractive targets.
Old methods in B2B marketing aren’t producing like they used to.
While B2B marketing has always differed from B2C marketing, paying attention to the differences may provide insight as to where middle-market companies need to focus. Understanding the customer’s buying process, customizing your offerings to what they need, and paying attention to what they care about will help move the B2B relationship forward.
Understand the buying process
The biggest difference between the buying process of a B2B customer and a B2C customer is that with B2B customers you’re dealing with a collective rather than an individual.
Businesses of all sizes know that healthcare affects their bottom line. This is especially true of middle-market companies.
According to the most recent Middle Market Indicator published by the National Center for the Middle Market, 87 percent of middle-market executives surveyed said the cost of healthcare was their top challenge.
In fact, middle-market companies have reported an increase of at least 27 percent in healthcare costs over the past five years, whether it’s directly from the rising cost of providing healthcare to employees or indirectly through employee attraction and productivity.
Even so, companies can lower healthcare costs and improve overall employee health and productivity. Here are four ways to do both:
Increased operational efficiency for middle-market companies may be one of the more obvious benefits from a merger or acquisition. But target companies also may realize significant financial benefits, adding heft to the bottom line and the ability to increase investments post-merger.
Those are the findings of a 2013 study by Ohio State University professors Michael Weisbach, Yeejin Jang, and Isil Eril.
Their research begins with the premise that financially constrained companies will make fewer investments—or at least make fewer investments beyond those that are absolutely necessary—than companies with fewer financial constraints. These companies will keep more cash on hand based on concern about future cash flow.
But what happens when these companies merge with a more financially stable business? Are the financial constraints lessened? Do companies begin to make more investments?
Information technology (IT) consumerization—the use of personal technology for business and personal applications—is an increasingly common trend among many middle-market companies.
For example, bring your own device (BYOD) is one aspect of IT consumerization that can improve a company's bottom line. But it also presents a serious security challenge for IT departments.
Middle-market companies that understand and address these challenges as they move toward IT consumerization will benefit immensely.
The cost of complying with government regulations is a major concern for middle-market executives. According to the National Center for the Middle Market’s latest MMI quarterly report, only half of the market executives who responded from Ohio were happy with the business climate in their state.
What do the numbers say?
Every five years, the Small Business Administration analyzes how much federal regulations cost businesses. According to a report filed in 2010, it cost businesses with between 20 and 499 employees an estimated $7,454 per employee per year to comply. The cost to companies with 500 and more employees was approximately $7,755. Collectively, it cost companies $1.75 trillion to comply.
No matter how profitable your middle-market organization is, market disruption is a reality you have to face. There is always the possibility that another company will introduce an innovation that redefines your industry or makes you obsolete.
For example, movie rental giant Blockbuster, went bust with the emergence of streaming services such as Netflix. Taxicab companies are in hot competition with driving services such as Uber and Lyft.
Instead of trying to come up with strategies that may help you stay afloat during middle-market disruptions, aim to be the disrupting element.