CEOs Execute Growth Strategies in Preparation for a Market Rebound

BOSTON, Dec. 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Capstone Partners, a leading middle market investment banking firm, released its 2023 Middle Market Business Owners Survey Report, with insights from privately-owned companies across the U.S. This report combines Capstone's in-depth middle market knowledge with proprietary data obtained from 435 participating owners of privately-owned, middle market companies. Conducted between July 31, 2023 and August 31, 2023, the survey captures sentiment at a pivotal moment in the U.S., identifying CEOs' decision making processes, growth, financial, and exit plans, and value drivers that characterized middle market business in 2023.

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Key Findings:

  • Elevated inflation has continued to adversely affect businesses across the middle market, with the majority (58.9%) of CEOs surveyed noting inflation as the top concern regarding company growth.

  • Among total business owners surveyed, 56.3% emphasized capital investment as the most useful resource in support of their primary operational initiative, followed by performance improvement support (24.8%) and strategic partnerships (18.9%).

  • More than half (50.8%) of business owners surveyed plan to execute growth strategies over the next 12 months to capture additional market share and gain scale in preparation for a market rebound.

  • Over the next twelve 12 months, 41.4% of CEOs surveyed will primarily focus on financial stability and improving cash flow, largely driven by market demand concerns and economic turbulence.

  • In 2023, 26.4% of CEOs surveyed indicated they have yet to start planning a business exit, illustrating the need for professional advisory services.

  • Owners' succession planning has heavily depended on annual revenue generated, as CEOs of smaller companies (less than $10 million of annual revenue) plan to transfer ownership to family and larger company operators (more than $10 million of annual revenue) plan to transfer ownership to business partners.

  • As the majority of CEOs surveyed indicated growth strategies are a priority for 2024, the lion's share (31.5%) of owners anticipate a need for growth strategy support services.

  • There has been a strong correlation between year-over-year (YOY) revenue growth and industry optimism among the CEOs surveyed, as the lion's share of owners in each industry have forecasted revenue increases for 2024 and exhibited a positive industry outlook.

Through this research, Capstone has evaluated the health of the middle market in 2023, uncovering recent challenges faced by business owners and the resources required to offset these challenges. The report also provides an analysis of forward-looking growth strategies and initiatives, business owners' outlook on their respective industries and the broader U.S. economy, and expected revenue changes.

To access the full report including a breakout of the results by industry, click here.

Make your voice heard in our upcoming survey here.


For over 20 years, the firm has been a trusted advisor to leading middle market companies, offering a fully integrated range of investment banking and financial advisory services uniquely tailored to help owners, investors, and creditors through each stage of the company's lifecycle. Capstone's services include M&A advisory, debt and equity placement, corporate restructuring, special situations, valuation and fairness opinions and financial advisory services. Headquartered in Boston, the firm has 175+ professionals in multiple offices across the U.S. With 12 dedicated industry groups, Capstone delivers sector-specific expertise through large, cross-functional teams. Capstone is a subsidiary of Huntington Bancshares Incorporated (NASDAQ:HBAN). For more information, visit

For More Information Contact:

Sarah Doherty
Director of Market Intelligence

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SOURCE Capstone Partners