Global Growth: A Prime Opportunity for the Middle Market

Article Authored By: Randy Hanson

The world may be shrinking, but the global economic pie just keeps getting bigger. In 1980, the U.S. accounted for more than a quarter of the world’s GDP. Today, it’s less than 20 percent, and by the middle of the 21st century, the U.S. percentage of the global GDP will be in single digits. And America isn’t falling behind—the rest of the world just keeps growing. This presents U.S. companies with tremendous international growth opportunities, and the U.S. Middle Market is primed to take advantage.

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Get to Know Us. We Work With Middle Market Executives

In the months ahead, Womble Carlyle will ask the public in general and middle market executives in particular, to get to know the firm’s attorneys. Advertisements, videos, web pages, and radio spots will highlight Womble Carlyle’s attorneys and the firm’s desire to work with General Counsel and other executives at middle market companies. We will offer fun, light-hearted information while at other times we’ll discuss business solutions benefiting legal services buyers at middle market companies.

Womble Carlyle (and the National Center for the Middle Marketdefines middle market companies as those companies with annual revenues of between $10 million and $1 billion. Based on that criterion, the middle market contains a wide swath of companies in nearly every economic vertical, including technology, consumer goods, manufacturing and law. Moreover, middle market companies employ approximately one in three working Americans in the private sector and the number is increasing as innovation continues in the Information Age. Additionally, middle market companies in this country are now becoming part of the global economy as technology reduces economic barriers. The firm’s global capabilities have grown as well, offering middle market clients a team of attorneys with experience in cross-border transactions and access to Lex Mundi partner firms.

At Womble Carlyle, we are aware of the emergence of the middle market but then again we have always worked well with middle market companies, even before there was such a term or a designation based on annual revenue.

The following video is the first installment of a series called Get to Know Us. It features a glimpse into the life of Chris Geis, an attorney in the firm’s Winston-Salem office. We wanted you to know more about Chris because he epitomizes and lives the firm’s stated core values:

  • Integrity
  • Devotion to Clients
  • Respect for the Individual

Values that the firm’s attorneys bring to all of their relationships with legal service buyers at middle market companies.

 

 

Meet Winston’s Friends (and Womble Carlyle) on Instagram and Facebook

Instagram_BlogPost

Whether you are a dog-lover, cat-lover or horse-lover, we can all agree that pet owners consider pets to be integral parts of their families. And what matters to our clients matters to us.

That’s the spirit behind Womble Carlyle’s new Get to Know Us social media campaign, which is designed to bring the firm’s attorneys closer to clients and colleagues. This fun, photo-centric effort features our lawyers and staff in candid photos with their beloved pets. We’ve also invited clients and friends of the firm (both furry and otherwise) to get in on the act.

Deep, meaningful relationships are critical to our business, and for animal lovers, their pets are important parts of their lives. It’s one of many small steps, but by connecting on a personal level, we aim to better understand the people we serve.

So join us on Instagram and Facebook, and get to know Cookie the dog, Raven the horse, Sweatshirt the cat and many of Winston’s other friends!

Womble Carlyle serves the Middle Market. Get to Know Us at WCSR.com to learn how.

Straight Talk about the Middle Market

The Middle Market is the engine that quietly drives the U.S. economy. It is the “growth plate” of the nation’s job creation efforts. The U.S. Middle Market encompasses a wide range of companies that fit somewhere between the Fortune 500 and the emerging economy.

Tom Stewart, Executive Director of the National Center for the Middle Market, visited Charlotte on July 28th to discuss the state of the Middle Market and announce the Center’s latest Middle Market research for 2Q 2014. The following is gleaned from his presentation:

What is the Middle Market?

The Middle Market is made up of companies with annual revenues of $10 million to $1 billion (the category is defined by some sources as $50 million to $2 billion). The median age of these businesses is 31 years old—by and large, these are mature companies, not start-ups.

So what companies are in the Middle Market?

The Middle Market includes a wide swath of businesses—including many well-known national names. Elmer’s Glue, King’s Hawaiian, California Pizza Kitchen, Monro Muffler/Brake & Service, Ethan Allen, Tootsie Roll, Callaway Golf, Airstream and Orbitz are just some of the instantly recognizable brand name Middle Market companies.

But there are thousands of other successful Middle Market companies that operate on a regional basis. In all, the U.S. Middle Market consists of nearly 200,000 businesses—including Womble Carlyle.

That’s a lot of companies! How many jobs are in the Middle Market?

Around 44.5 million. That’s one-third of all private sector jobs in America. Another way to look at it is more people work in the U.S. Middle Market than live in the state of California.

Middle Market and private sector GDP

What type of economic impact do Middle Market companies have on the U.S. economy at large?

Put it this way—by itself, the U.S. Middle Market would be the world’s fifth-largest economy. It’s bigger than the entire economy of Germany, for example.

In raw numbers, the U.S. Middle Market brings in nearly $10 trillion in annual revenue, or roughly one-third of the nation’s private sector GDP. The Middle Market may go under the radar at times, but its economic impact is massive.

How is the Middle Market performing?

Quite well. Better than the U.S. economy as a whole, as a matter of fact:

  • The Middle Market experienced 6.6% revenue growth in the past six months and projects a 5.8% revenue growth over the next six months. By comparison, the S&P 500 projects a 3.4% growth rate during the next 12 months.
  • Middle Market companies added jobs at a 3.2% rate in the past 12 months. That’s better than either small businesses (2.1%) or large businesses (2.6%).

Middle Market growth

  • Sixty-three percent (63%) of Middle Market companies plan to make new investments during the upcoming year.
  • Since 2007, the Middle Market has accounted for 70% of the nation’s new job creation—approximately 5.4 million jobs.

Given its economic impact, why don’t we hear more about the Middle Market?

Largely because the vast majority (80%) are privately held companies. Also, many Middle Market businesses are regional, not national, in focus.

Middle Market 80 percent privately held

What does the Middle Market do well?

Middle Market companies tend to have a sharp strategic focus—they know what they do well and don’t stray beyond their core competencies. They generally are close to their customers, their owners and leadership take a hands-on approach to operations, and they tend to be conservative in managing their finances.

Where does the Middle Market tend to underachieve?

In innovation and globalization. It’s the flip side of being cautious and conservative—sometimes, Middle Market companies are slow to react to new opportunities. For example, only one-third of Middle Market businesses have global operations.

What is the National Center for the Middle Market and what does it do?

Housed at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, the National Center for the Middle Market provides a voice and point-of-view for this critical yet understudied segment of the economy, driving national dialogue about its importance and impact. The Center conducts regular research into the Middle Market.

Cyber Insurance Basics: What Businesses Need to Know

The following is a Middle Market* insight authored by Jonathan Reich, a Womble Carlyle attorney in the firm’s Winston-Salem office.

Why is cyber insurance important?

Almost every week another business is in the headlines for the latest data breach or cyber security attack. The Washington Post reported that more than 3,000 American businesses have been hacked, many of them small and midsized firms. At the other extreme of the scale, Fortune 50 retailer Home Depot recently announced that it has incurred $33 million of pretax expenses related to its 2014 data breach, which includes liabilities to the payment card network for credit card fraud and the cost of reissuing cards, government investigation costs, and current and predicted future litigation costs.

The breadth, scope, and frequency of these attacks on American businesses have become so great that President Obama recently convened the first White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection and signed an executive order which encourages private businesses and insurance companies to share cyber security threat information with the federal government in an effort to increase national data security.

Continue reading…

What is Portable Electronics Insurance and Who Needs It?

The following Middle Market Insight*, authored by Jonathan Reich, originally appeared in the North Carolina Bar Association’s Insurance Law Newsletter.

Lawyers across the state have increasingly incorporated laptops, smart phones and tablet computers into the tools of the legal trade.  Judges too use laptops from the bench, and will admit that they increasingly read court papers on tablets, as opposed to carrying around a thick sheaf of printed briefs.  The proliferation of portable electronic devices on the market, both among the general public and the business user, has spawned a new category of insurance: portable electronics insurance.  Whether you are purchasing an Amazon Kindle for your personal use, an Apple iPhone for your law practice, or advising individual or business clients about Android business tablets, it is worth knowing about this new type of insurance.

Continue reading…

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