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2021 business trends: C-level execs’ key priorities, opportunities, challenges, & strategies

by | Feb 25, 2021 | Public Relations

As the COVID crisis continues to pummel the business world, new research from professional services and business consulting firm LBMC offers insight into business trends, challenges, and levels of optimism across seven major industries in the U.S.

Not surprisingly, the COVID crisis was the monster challenge of 2020, affecting all industries and nearly three out of four businesses surveyed. While the election was a concern for more than 40 percent of respondents, nearly 60 percent of those surveyed were neutral or positive about the election. While optimism about the economy is low, many businesses believe their revenue will grow this year. For more than half of businesses, acquiring and retaining talent was a top priority.

2021 business trends: C-level execs’ key priorities, opportunities, challenges, & strategies

“As companies adapted to the new normal over the last year, many brought in skills, talents and processes they did not have prior to the pandemic,” said Suzanne Reed, MBA, chief marketing officer at LBMC, in a news release. “What are they focused on in the coming year? This report outlines top priorities for business leaders in 2021 and beyond.”

2021 business trends: C-level execs’ key priorities, opportunities, challenges, & strategies

Highlights of the research:

Top priorities:

  • Growing sales
  • Improving financial performance
  • Increasing business value
  • Retaining and finding great talent
  • Improving information management

Top business challenges:

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Domestic economic conditions
  • Employee and benefits costs
  • Regulatory requirements/changes
  • Developing new products/services/markets
  • Staff turnover/availability of top personnel

2021 business trends: C-level execs’ key priorities, opportunities, challenges, & strategies

Who participated in the survey?

  • More than 500 business leaders, mostly in the C-suite
  • Seven major industries, including healthcare, manufacturing & distribution, construction & real estate, technology, nonprofit & education, professional services, retail & entertainment/hospitality
  • Companies across the U.S., all sizes
  • High growth, average growth and no growth companies

2021 business trends: C-level execs’ key priorities, opportunities, challenges, & strategies

“If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that there will always be factors outside our control that will impact your business,” said Jeff Drummonds, CEO of LBMC, in the release. “If you are doing the right things, you will be better equipped to weather the storm when curveballs are thrown at you. One of the silver linings of 2020 is that it resulted in positive changes that may not have taken place otherwise – particularly around technology and innovation. If you have the right infrastructure in place to take care of your team members and clients, the rest will fall into place.”

 2021 business trends: C-level execs’ key priorities, opportunities, challenges, & strategies

Download the full report here.

The firm’s fourth annual national Business Outlook Report was based on results from the national Business Outlook Survey, where more than 500 business leaders, mostly in C-level positions, reviewed business activity over the past year and provided insight into the business landscape over the next 12 months. More than half of the participants represent companies with $15 million plus in revenue and at least 50 employees. For the first time, this year’s report also surveyed high growth companies—businesses with a growth rate of at least 20 percent.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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