Knowledge Center

The most complete collection of information and insights available on the middle market.

The National Center for the Middle Market takes pride in offering middle market businesses, researchers, and business students access to the most comprehensive collection of knowledge and data pertaining to the middle market. The Center funds open-source research and distributes the findings along with research generated by other parties. We offer access to reports and studies geared toward fueling economic growth, interviews with middle market leaders, in-depth webinar discussions with business and industry experts, and videos that identify and share best practices of thriving middle market companies. The Center continually evolves its knowledge of the middle market though new research and analysis, and regularly updates this page with the latest resources available from the Center as well as third parties.

To assist you in quickly locating the information you need, resources are organized by both topic and format.

  • Lessons in Innovation From the Middle Market

    How do middle market companies maximize the value that they capture? Success draws attention from established competitors and upstart copycats. Meanwhile, scale requires continual decisions about how to allocate resources and organize. They must be explicit in their decisions, mindful of short- and long- term trade-offs, thoughtful about where power and final decision-making authority reside, and careful to sustain a culture true to their origins. In short, they need an innovation strategy to guide decisions.  Read More >
  • Rebranding Your Company: Is It Time?

    We all know how powerful brands can be. When we choose a product or service, we're not just looking at price. Instead, it's about the overall brand promise. It's the same with your middle market company. You've built a relationship with your customers, and your brand means something to them. That can be a valuable competitive advantage, but in certain circumstances, your brand may be holding you back. If that's the case, it's time to look at strategic rebranding. Here are the questions to ask yourself to help determine if your midmarket firm needs to consider rebranding:

      Read More >
  • It's About People

    According to new research by the National Center for the Middle Market and Dr. Ray Noe and Dr. Larry Inks of the Fisher College of Business, there is a strong relationship between the quality of performance management at midsize companies and their financial performance. This report includes a list of key takeaways on performance management, as well as a case study from a middle market company, that business executives and HR leaders can implement in their companies given limited resources and budget.  Read More >
  • Creating a Climate of Compliance in 4 Steps

    Compliance with internal rules and external regulations is something every middle market company must enforce. Doing so is the only way your employees can protect their jobs while keeping internal and external auditors relatively off your company's back. Most importantly, complying with regulations is the only effective way to keep your company out of the government's bull's-eye, who can bring your business to a grinding halt with lengthy investigations, invasive regulatory actions, and huge penalties.

      Read More >
  • Improve Your Company's Web Presence: Attract and Engage a Bigger Audience

    By Rob Carey

    The advantage of a strong web presence for midmarket companies cannot be overstated. Fostering web engagement can act as a great leveler between midsized firms and larger competitors. Customers and prospects spend so much of their time — at work and at home — online that a compelling, effective website and consistent, strategized social media action can make a big difference.


      Read More >
  • State of the Middle Market in Ohio

    Defined as companies with annual revenues between $10 million and $1 billion, Ohio’s middle market represents only one percent of businesses statewide, yet employs nearly two million workers – or 37 percent of all jobs – and generated $226 billion in revenues last year. This first-of-its-kind research, which was conducted in collaboration with the National Center for the Middle Market and Ohio chambers of commerce, surveyed 102 executives (CEOs, CFOs, and other C-Suite executives) from mid-sized firms statewide to investigate past year growth, anticipated growth, confidence in the economy, and challenges to growth.  Read More >
  • Are You Talented Enough to Be a CEO?

    Many professionals aspire to be the future CEO of their company. Achieving such a lofty position takes the culmination of years of hard work and gives you a chance to make a dramatic impact in your industry, potentially around the world. The funnel narrows sharply, however, as you approach the C-suite, with far more contenders than open slots. Are you really talented enough to take the reins? Here are five questions that you should make a habit of asking yourself each year so you can measure your progress as you rise to the top.

      Read More >
  • What is an Earn-Out?

    By Axial

    Despite months of negotiation, buyers and sellers often have trouble agreeing on a specific purchase price. This misalignment on price can cause one or both parties to step away from the negotiation process. But the disagreement does not need to end the entire process. Rather than scrapping the transaction, one strategy to bridge the gap between the buyer and the seller is to use an earn-out.

      Read More >
  • How to Develop a Social Media Policy that Maximizes Benefits and Minimizes Risks

    By Rob Carey

    The ability of your middle market company to leverage social media outlets is perhaps the biggest factor in leveling the playing field between you and larger competitors. Although enterprises have a much greater wealth of resources to devote to social media, the right social media policy can make a big difference for a midmarket firm. Many business leaders already seem to understand this: more than 68 percent of executives surveyed by Grant Thornton in June 2013 said that these platforms are either important or critical to their corporate strategy.

      Read More >
  • Drive Business Priorities by Empowering Employee Decision-Making

    Well-founded business priorities are the essence of successful commerce. They embody a firm's strategy and are expressed through all key actions made by the company. It's normal for upper management to insist on making business decisions, largely because they want to hold fast to these priorities. Upper-level employees generally believe that, if you let lower-rung employees make decisions, it becomes difficult to enforce the right choices that support overarching company strategies — even worse, employees might take actions that undermine these strategies.

      Read More >
  • The Operations Playbook: A Systematic Approach for Achieving and Maintaining Operations Excellence

    According to new research conducted by the National Center for the Middle Market in collaboration with Dr. Peter Ward of the Center for Operational Excellence at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, we have concluded that operations should be managed as a system comprised of four interlocking subsystems.  Read More >
  • Selling a Business: How to Conduct Sell-Side Due Diligence

    Selling a business is often a lengthy process, so it's best to prepare your middle market business for its sale up to three years before the actual transaction takes place. You might think that getting the best possible sale price depends upon timing the marketplace correctly, effective negotiation, and other externalities, but that isn't the case. The most important factor influencing the pre-sale valuation of your middle market company is your own due diligence.

      Read More >
  • 3Q 2014 Canadian Mid-Sized Business Outlook

    Between June and August 2014, GE Capital surveyed mid-sized companies to ascertain their views on the global and Canadian economies and their outlook on a variety of important economic, industry and business-level issues, including growth expectations and financing needs. The responses here represent averages based on 224 completed surveys. The decision-makers who were surveyed represent mid-sized companies with revenue ranging from $5 million to $1 billion (and $1 million to $1 billion in the automotive, food and beverage, and trucking industries).  Read More >