As many people in our community know, I'm a member of Vistage – a middle market CEO organization. Each quarter, Vistage polls its membership to submit answers to a series of questions. This poll is very similar to what the University of Michigan does when it develops its consumer confidence index. Vistage creates a similar index called the CEO confidence index.
The 4th quarter report for 2011 is hot off the presses. It thankfully confirms what some of our clients are demonstrating as we're seeing 2011 financial results. There are modest improvements that have happened out there in the middle market business world.
As you review the charts, they demonstrate that we're at 2007 levels of confidence. In an earlier post regarding the Vistage CEO Confidence Survey, I asked the question "Isn't this all relative? Are we really back at pre-recession levels?"
What I am happy to report is that, in at least a portion of our client base (which is representative of Vistage members as a whole), about 25% of us are at pre-recession levels of profit margins and we are seeing average growth. This is great news! The rest of us that are feeling optimistic are basing, I think, our mood on the mood of others.
Our confidence as a whole appears to mirror the broader 'mood' and media news cycle. Meaning that in quarter 1 and quarter 2 of 2011 we were optimistic. However, we stopped being as optimistic when there was an uptick in the unemployment rate after seeing some modest declines.
Here is to believing that 2012 will be better than 2011 – and hoping that it is one of your best years ever!