When one thinks of locations that are the home of thriving businesses, one generally lists off the metropolitan areas of New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, et al. Outside of these hotbeds of activity we are surprisingly finding pockets of activity in small town USA. We have been working with private equity funds and their entrepreneurial founders/partners on projects to help thriving middle market companies in these communities get to the next level. Towns you and I have never heard of such as Farmville, NC, Connersville, IN, and Lafayette, LA have world class companies servicing highly specialized market niches that are experiencing significant growth and attracting the interests of middle market private equity funds.
In working with companies in these regions and similar regions throughout the country, we are finding that the primary limitation to their continued growth is access to executive and middle management talent. We are seeing the following strategies used to get the skill sets in place:
- Pay significant relocation and/or bonus packages to executives to entice them to move
- Permit newly hired, metropolitan domiciled executives to fly in on Monday, out on Friday
- Invest in and leverage technology to minimize the need for on-site talent
- Move the entire executive operation to metropolitan locations
In 1988, George H.W. Bush described the many volunteer organizations throughout this country as “a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.” Twenty-five years later, we are seeing small town entrepreneurs providing a similar economic light, a thousand times over.