As a business owner, I’m afraid I won’t be able to afford either providing healthcare for my employees or paying the penalty the government imposes on businesses that don’t provide healthcare for their employees, says Terry Thompson-Schmitz, Vistage member and CEO of TTE Transcripts located in Huntley, IL.
Thompson-Schmitz’s comment is one of hundreds of similar comments from the 2,098 Main Street CEOs surveyed in the most recent Vistage CEO Confidence Index, the largest CEO survey of its kind in the U.S.
Among the greatest concerns of CEOs responding to the survey were government regulations, taxes and healthcare costs. When responding about specific challenges or opportunities, 60 percent cited healthcare costs as potentially crippling their businesses.
“With all of the new government regulations and requirements for benefits, personnel costs will skyrocket,” says Elenore Gay, Executive Vice President and Owner of CCM Construction in Albuquerque, NM. “The additional expenses of mandated benefits will impose distress on many small businesses everywhere.”
Despite these concerns, CEOs’ confidence in their own businesses and the overall economy continues to rise. The Vistage CEO Confidence Index rose from 60.6 in Q1 2009 to 69.0 in Q2 2009, an 8.4 percent increase, continuing an upward trend in CEO confidence.
Vistage members also say they’re shifting from defensive actions to offensive actions in preparing for the recovery and adapting their businesses to the new landscape. While the expected jump in healthcare costs is troubling to CEOs, their focus now is on diversifying product lines, increasing their customer base and utilizing new tools such as social media. Fifty-five percent are now using or plan to use social media to market and/or publicize their business.
Although just seven percent of all firms thought the economy had already begun to improve, 37 percent anticipated that the economic recovery would start before the end of the year, with just 19 percent expecting the economy to worsen in the year ahead.
“The Confidence Index has now regained almost all of the losses recorded during the past year, bouncing back to nearly the pre-recession score of 69.6 we saw one year ago,” said Rafael Pastor, Vistage Chairman of the Board and CEO. “Every component of the Index posted gains last quarter, including revenues, profits, hiring and capital expenditures. The confidence in renewed economic growth is at the highest level in four years.”
The Q2 2009 Vistage CEO Confidence Index is a compilation of responses from 2,098 CEOs of small- to mid-sized companies in the United States, surveyed between July 6-16, 2009, with a margin of error of 1.8 percentage points. The quarterly Vistage CEO Confidence Index, established in 2003, is the nation’s largest and only comprehensive report of their opinions and projections.
Vistage is a CEO peer organization in 15 countries with nearly 14,500 members. Collectively, Vistage members run companies with an estimated $300 billion in revenues and employ two million people. In addition to their peer groups, Vistage CEO members have access to expert resources speakers and receive monthly one-to-one coaching from a mentor called a Vistage Chair. The sharing of information in a Vistage group is completely confidential, allowing for the open exchange of issues, ideas and solutions. www.vistage.com.