OneAccord SMB Business Survey Results
Prepared By Peter Klinge, Jr., Regional Managing Principal
The Topline View editorial team thought to get input from our readers about their perspectives on 2011 regarding revenue growth for their businesses. I suppose technically we’ve been out of the Great Recession for about two years. However, most might say “it depends on where you are in the economy."

OneAccord works with owners and C-level executives, typically of privately held businesses with revenue in the range of about $10 to $250MM +, i.e., the middle or lower mid market. Statistically, this group is responsible for much of our economy’s employment, innovation and indeed the future of the U.S. economic expansion and sustainability for the well being of families for generations to come. Many of these companies grow up to be part of very large companies or future Fortune 500 companies themselves.

There are millions of such companies in America. To be sure we’ve gotten the opinion of just a fraction of the Owners/CEOs/investors/bankers/attorneys and others involved with small companies. But nonetheless we found the opinions of this group pretty compelling at least directionally. Perhaps you can identify with their perspectives.

OneAccord Growth Survey Structure
We organized our Conclusions/Findings and thoughts on implications based on a survey that’s intentionally short, simple and, I submit, more qualitative in nature by virtue of the small sample we took – less than 100 responses. However, by design the questions are topical and top of mind to the business owners and leaders and therefore not difficult or time consuming to answer. The survey consisted of just 7 questions listed here.

You may share a different opinion and we welcome your comments and feedback to the value of this content to you and your business situation. You may comment to

This is the subject list of question areas. What follows this are our conclusions/findings and implications along with various charts of the responses:

  1. Sentiment about 2011 business strategy
  2. Revenue growth expectations
  3. Product strategy changes
  4. Transition & succession in top management
  5. Transition and succession in top sales and management leadership
  6. Growth opportunity priorities
  7. Greatest needs for the organization


Peter Klinge Jr.
Editor for Topline View
Regional Managing Principal, OneAccord LLC.

More About Peter Klinge, Jr.

Key Conclusions/Findings

Directionally, most respondents feel good about their 2011 business strategy (55%) and expect higher revenue growth (79%). This indicates some optimism after a period of general uncertainty. However, there’s a good size minority that don’t believe their strategy is where it should be i.e. still working on/not where we want to be (cume of about 45%), and revenue will only be the same i.e. no growth (20%).   2011 Business Strategy

Growth Expectation

Respondents indicate that product change is very much part of 2011 plans, 67% plan new product introductions versus 18% indicating ‘sticking with what they have’. Another 15% responded that they are still working on their product development strategy.    

There appears to be pretty strong sentiment to make changes in top management (25%) and/or sales/management leadership (33%);
yes/no/uncertain response selections to questions 4 and 5. This suggests there’s still a lot of organizational change occurring perhaps in anticipation of a growth future. Or in some cases companies are still feeling the effects of recessionary after shocks. We concede that it’s difficult from this survey to understand the underlying factors to this sentiment. However, the next 2 question responses might provide a clue as to why the need for change in position and skill sets from the previous business cycle.
2011 Business Strategy

Respondents appear to suggest by their responses to questions 6 and 7 that they need to make management and leadership changes to adjust to new growth and organizational needs in the next business cycle. Respondents were asked to rate and respond to a) what growth opportunity is most important to you; b) what is your organization’s greatest need (s) in 2011.

a. Asked to select a rating on a scale of 1 (most important) to 5 (least important) among a group of 5 strategies for growth opportunities, respondents indicated in this order of most to least important:

        • Acquire significant new customers (43% of respondents rate this factor a 1 (most important) with an overall importance rating of 1.9;
        • Introduce new products and services (28% rated a 1 with an overall importance rating of 2.6)
        • Build business with current customers (15% rated a 1 with an overall importance rating of 2.7)
        • Open new distribution channels (8% rated a 1 with an overall importance rating of 3.5)
        • Add growth through acquisition (6% rated a 1 with an overall importance rating of 4.4)

b. Based on responses it appears obtaining or developing people with skills in sales, strategy and product development were the most important needs. Finance related needs though important do not rate as high for respondents.
  • Sales development (66%)
  • People development/hiring (59%) combined responses
  • Strategy development (41%)
  • Product development (31%)
  • Obtaining growth capital (28%)
  • Financing to bridge challenges (20%)


Greater trend toward sales management and product change for innovation to grow Topline revenue. Companies have or are beginning to respond and adjust to the opportunities of a new growth business cycle. We believe it’s fair to say that the period of cost rationalization to ‘hunker’ down through economic turbulence is giving sway to thinking about future growth.

  • There’s a suggestion that the leadership and style of management of the organization necessary for restructuring in the great recession is being replaced by a need for a new style and skill sets centered around innovation and growth.

  • Many companies are uncertain and still trying to find the right footing. They will be cautious about who to hire, when and what they’ll do to participate in the next growth cycle. Ideally they will create and sustain a good board of advisors to help guide them to take calculated risks on people and products that they can measure and compare to milestones of achievement to their business strategy.

  • We’re interested in your thoughts and comments on what you’re seeing in your business and the marketplace. Our intent with Topline View is to create content of value that merits discussion to help companies, and the stable of OneAccord advisory referral partners, and of course our clients Feel free to send your comments to

    Peter Klinge, Jr. is a senior marketing and general management executive with significant experience in business development, product and services marketing, and key account management growth. He is a Regional Managing Principal with OneAccord Partners, LLC and is based in Salt Lake City. A strategic marketing and communications executive, Mr. Klinge has more than 20 years experience with many of the top advertising/marketing services agencies, driving business success for major global brands and early stage companies, in technology and consumer categories.   BIO


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    OneAccord Survey

    KEY FINDINGS from the 2011
    Growth Survey

    55% are optimistic about their business strategy in 2011

    79% expect higher revenue growth

    67% plan new product Introductions

    25% plan on key leadership changes

    #1 ranked growth strategy is acquiring significant new customers

    #1 ranked area of perceived need is sales development












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