At an ever-increasing rate, CEOs and business executives are relying on their peers, particularly outside their own expertise, to help them grow personally, professionally and organizationally. Yet, many of today’s business leaders have unpredictable travel schedules, live in outlying markets, or simply prefer to connect with their peers online. To meet the needs of these executives, Vistage International, the world’s foremost peer advisory membership organization for business leaders, has launched a new program – a robust online, issue-resolution offering that makes it possible to engage a group of business peers on specific subjects. Vistage Connect provides executives with access to the professionally facilitated “advisory board” they need to process and solve their toughest business challenges and optimize their opportunities. The new online platform has been in the research and test phase for the past year and is now officially available to CEOs and business executives of growing and mature companies.
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CEOs remain optimistic about prospects for the economy as well as the outlook for their own firm’s performance in the midst of persistent economic and political uncertainties. The Vistage CEO Confidence Index was 105.1 in the 1st quarter 2012 survey, up from 98.8 in Q4 and 83.5 in Q3 of last year. Confidence is at its highest level since 105.2 was recorded at the start of 2011. Expected economic gains have prompted CEOs to continue to slowly expand employment in anticipation of higher sales; nonetheless, 84% of the CEOs surveyed said they’ve learned to be more productive with fewer employees. The Q1 2012 results reflect the sentiments of 1,854 small business CEOs surveyed from March 5-16, 2012.
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After precipitous declines during the prior two quarters, CEO confidence bounced back at year’s end with the largest quarterly gain since the start of the recovery in 2009. The Vistage CEO Confidence Index was 98.8 in the 4th quarter 2011 survey, up from 83.5 in the 3rd quarter, and reaching the highest level since 105.2 was recorded at the start of 2011. The Q4 2011 Vistage CEO Confidence Index reflects responses from 1,641 U.S. CEOs, surveyed between Dec. 12 and Dec. 22, 2011.
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The pace of economic growth has slowed significantly since the start of 2011 and the slowdown is expected to continue into the start of 2012, according to a survey of CEOs of small-to-medium-sized businesses. The Vistage CEO Confidence Index was 92.9 in the Q2 2011 survey, substantially below the 105.2 posted in Q1, and erasing all the gains recorded since 93.7 was registered in Q1 2010. Though declines were present in every major survey component, the largest losses were in evaluations of the overall economy. Rather than expecting a renewed economic downturn, the majority of CEOs anticipated a stagnating economy: growth too slow to support robust gains in employment or investment, and resulting in lower revenue and profit levels than previously forecast. Half of all firms put planned investments on hold due to the slowdown in economic growth.
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Two-thirds of all CEOs surveyed believe the economy has improved during the past year and half expect further gains during the year ahead. The Vistage CEO Confidence Index was 105.2 in the 1st quarter of 2011, slightly below 106.3 recorded in the prior quarter but well above the 93.7 in last year’s 1st quarter survey. CEO confidence has more than doubled since the recession low of 48.7 two years ago. However, the small decline reflects a renewed uncertainty about the impact of events in Japan and the Middle East on energy costs, consumer spending and inflation. Overall, the majority of CEOs still expect the recovery to continue and their own businesses to continue to grow.
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Small business CEOs expressed a remarkable resurgence of optimism both in the overall economy and for their own companies. The Vistage Confidence Index jumped to 106.3 in the 4th Quarter of 2010, after reporting 95.1 in the 3rd quarter, 94.4 in the 2nd quarter and 93.7 in the 1st quarter of this year. Of the 1,729 respondents in the Q4 Vistage CEO Confidence Index, 77% expect increased revenues and 63% foresee higher profits in their own companies.
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CEO confidence was up slightly in the third quarter, noting a slowing economic growth pace, but no evidence of a double dip recession, according to the Vistage CEO Confidence Index 3rd quarter results. Despite widespread recognition of the recent economic slowdown, CEOs were more confident in their firm’s ability to increase their revenues and profits in the year ahead. Yet, virtually every CEO (92%) expects rising employee health care costs, and 57% of all CEOs expect those cost increases to be more than 10%. Two-thirds of all CEOs said that without the extension of the Bush tax cuts their businesses would be harmed, and nearly half (46%) reported continued unfavorable credit market conditions. In response to a question about the upcoming elections, 62% of CEOs believe the Republicans will control the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2011.
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