Celebrating 25 Years: 25 Tips for Growing Lower-Middle-Market Businesses

Operating Advice

Celebrating 25 Years: 25 Tips for Growing Lower-Middle-Market Businesses

For 25 years, NewSpring has remained steadfast in our commitment to the lower-middle market, where innovation thrives and growth potential is immense. Throughout those 25 years, we have made investments in over 200 companies in support of their vision, and remain committed to empowering them with the resources, expertise, and guidance they need to scale.

As part of our 25-year anniversary, we’re featuring 25 unique insights from our invaluable network of operators and CEOs. These leaders have been at the forefront of innovation and growth, steering their companies through challenges and opportunities alike. Each week, we will unveil five pieces of powerful advice that these visionaries have received or imparted during their journeys. Here are the first fifteen:

"Build your social capital account. While all leaders focus on financial capital, it's just as important to have a healthy balance in your social capital account. Invest in building a strong network of friends and colleagues. These relationships can help you navigate challenges and develop new ideas."

- Peter Hotz, CEO, vybe urgent care

"Maintain a laser focus on the key elements that drive the most value for your customers and the business. It’s easy to get distracted, but meaningful impact stems from solving core problems exceptionally well. Priortitze what truly matters."

- Matt Turpin, CEO, Zentech Manufacturing

"Don't worry alone! Great teams invest in each other and rally around challenges that concern their colleagues. By encouraging transparency, you enable more minds to work toward solutions, strengthening team bonds and problem-solving capabilities."

- Mark Rowe, CEO, Mangrove Management Partners

"For all the founders among us, never lose the entrepreneurial spirit that brought you success in the past. Even as your business evolves and faces new chapters, this spirit is crucial. Call upon it to guide you forward. It is not only a potent tool for developing teams but also a key driver of growth."

- Kathi Holst, CEO, Traffic Safety Solutions

"Trust your gut! Nine hundred ninety-nine times out of a thousand, your first instinct is right. Make decisions swiftly and confidently—speed and conviction are often your best allies in achieving success."

- Garrett Marler, President, Aero Components 

"Less is often more when it comes to focus. The desire to do it all is tempting, but most of the time, success usually requires honing in on what truly matters. This might mean a limited product set, sharpened by focus, which can be exceptional. Prioritize quality and relevance over quantity."

- Jorge Brea, CEO, Symphonic

"The most enduring competitive advantage is team cohesion. Prioritize the strength and health of your leadership team over everything else."

- David DeWolf, Former CEO, 3Pillar Global

"For many lower-middle market businesses, growth will inevitably plateau without strategic change. Transitioning from a relationship-center selling model to a more systematic marketing and sales process will increase selling accountability and improve revenue visibility."

- John Shomaker, CEO, Strategic Communications Holdings

"As a CEO, you can’t grow a business if you’re only focused on running it. Instead, build and train a team capable of responsibly managing daily operations effectively so you, as CEO, can concentrate on strategic growth. Success will follow."

- Patrick Maginn, CEO, Northpoint Roofing Systems

"Give your team an invitation to give you bad news fast, because it doesn't get better with age! Creating this type of environment allows you to implement a quicker resolution and to more effectively manage difficult situations."

- Larry Berran, Former CEO, iPipeline

"Adopt the curiosity of a tourist in your daily life. On vacation, we observe everything from a different lens – noticing the unique ways people communicate, savoring new foods, navigating different streets. Apply that same lens to the everyday, and you’ll uncover innovations you never knew were possible."

- Kevin Gelfand, CEO, Shake Smart

"When pursuing acquisition opportunities, be absolutely certain that each fits strategically within your company’s roadmap and vision. An acquisition should be more than just a short-term EBITDA boost or a future buyer will see right through it. If the fit isn’t perfectly clear, rethink the deal!"

Mike Baldwin, Former CEO, Altus Receivables Management

"Benjamin Franklin’s philosophy to "do well by doing good" has provided a great north star for our teams. It’s a commitment to excellence that doesn’t just aim for success, but ensures our path is ethically sound and socially beneficial."

Dave French, CEO, BetterNight

"Nothing goes further than a healthy dose of humility to cultivate cooperation, teamwork, and success across the organization. My philosophy of leadership is rooted in 'assumed excellence,' trusting in the expertise and competence of colleagues from the outset, inviting them to demonstrate their strengths."

- Matt Regan, President & CEO, Wealthcare Capital Management

"Execution is important, but culture is king – it overrides everything else. If there are execution issues in a weak culture, it falls to leadership to step in. However, if the team has a culture to perform and get results, they will navigate through the challenges. Invest time in building the right culture to really unlock the team’s full potential and elevate the entire organization."

- Ned Moore, CEO, Clutch

Thank you for joining us in celebrating NewSpring's 25 years of investment excellence. We hope the insights shared by our network of accomplished CEOs have inspired and equipped you with practical strategies for leadership and growth. Each piece of advice reflects deep industry knowledge and the spirit of entrepreneurship that NewSpring has always championed. Continue to visit our page weekly for more pearls of wisdom and explore further how NewSpring can help transform lower-middle market businesses.

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