About two dozen area corporate growth experts are bullish about business for 2012.
The Association for Corporate Growth North Florida chapter surveyed members and guests at a recent meeting and 22 responded.
They responded on the upside for their businesses, for the Jacksonville economy and for the national economy, and indicated more optimism for the coming year than for the current October-December fourth quarter.
Chapter President Michael Kirwan said the survey results show that association participants believe the Jacksonville and national economies face challenges in the quarter. After that, their attitude improves.
“They strongly believe that 2012 should experience economic growth and that unemployment numbers should decline,” said Kirwan, a partner with the Foley & Lardner law firm in Jacksonville.
While not scientific, the results reflect optimism among dealmakers who see the economy from the perspective of those who spend money to make money.
“ACG members generally have insights beyond their business. As either professional advisers or business owners and officers engaged in mergers and acquisitions or other growth strategies, ACG members often observe economic changes fairly quickly,” Kirwan said.
“ACG members are the equivalent of the canaries for the economy’s coal mine. If ACG members are increasing their optimism for the future, then I believe that it is a good sign that our economy will be strengthening,” he said.
According to the Association for Corporate Growth website, members consist of private equity professionals, investment bankers, attorneys, auditors, accountants, lenders, corporate development officers, company leaders and other financial professionals.
The Association for Corporate Growth North Florida chapter, which has 85 members, is part of the global organization founded in 1954. The association has 56 chapters in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.
Among the responses from the October survey of North Florida members:
• Do you believe your business will experience an increase in revenue?
All said yes for 2012, while 86 percent said so for the fourth quarter.
• Do you believe the Jacksonville economy will grow or contract?
Almost 90 percent said it would grow next year, but just over half said so for the current quarter.
• Do you believe the national economy will grow or contract?
While 73 percent said it would grow next year, only 41 percent said it would grow this quarter.
• Do you believe your business will increase head count?
More than 60 percent said it would next year, but only 38 percent said the business would add jobs this quarter.
• Do you believe unemployment will decrease in Jacksonville?
Almost 70 percent said area unemployment would fall next year, but just 38 percent said it would drop this quarter.
• Do you believe unemployment will decrease in the United States?
A strong 78 percent said it would next year, but just 38 percent said national unemployment would fall in the current quarter.
The association considers itself a resource for middle-market dealmakers and business leaders who invest in growth and build companies.
It offers events, online tools, structured networking opportunities, member benefits and market intelligence.
Kirwan said the ACG North Florida chapter will distribute a survey at each meeting.
“Each month’s survey will have a different topic. However, we will periodically conduct the same survey in order to determine changes in member sentiment,” he said.