This morning we hosted twenty local CEOs for a virtual roundtable session focused on the economic outlook. Rick Kaglic, Vice President and Senior Regional Officer of the Cincinnati Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, shared insights on how the recent pandemic has impacted the economy as well as his thoughts on the recovery process, which he referred to as a “long and bumpy road.” Then we opened up the conversation for the CEOs to share what they’re seeing in their own organizations and industries. Here are some of the highlights of the discussion:
- Most of the CEOs in our discussion still have uncertainty about the economy, though most said they’re optimistic business will be “somewhat better” at the start of 2021.
- Few of the organizations represented in the roundtable have made significant capital expenditures during the past several months. Instead, many of the CEOs said they have invested in technology. One leader shared that his organization has invested in a digital marketing platform to help them do a better job of hitting sales goals. Others are investing in SaSS platforms or new data collection tools.
- The other investment organizations have been making is in people and training. Though most of the leaders said bringing back furloughed workers is a top priority, one noted that their organization is focusing on employees who have skills that align with the current work environment.
- Innovation came up several times during our conversation with the CEOs. Companies that didn’t keep up with innovation prior to the pandemic have had a harder time staying afloat, but others have used the past several months to develop new service lines and revenue sources.
- Not surprisingly, diversification has been one of the ways several leaders said their organizations have endured the past several months. Whether they serve clients in multiple industries or are diversified in their service offerings, a revenue boost in some areas has helped balance underperforming sectors of the business.