10 Charlotte International Business Factoids

The Charlotte Regional Partnership is a nonprofit, public/private economic development organization that leverages regional resources to market the 16-county Charlotte region.  The organization markets the Charlotte region as a “Center for International Business” by promoting the following ten factoids.

  • Largest concentration of foreign-owned firms between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta; German, British and Japanese parent companies represent the countries with the largest representation of foreign-owned firms
  • Home to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), 5th-busiest airport in the U.S. and only 15 minutes from uptown Charlotte
  • Never more than one plane change away from any business destination
  • If the Carolinas were a country, would be the 17th largest economy in the world
  • More than 40 languages spoken in the Charlotte region
  • Five language immersion programs in French, German, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and Japanese
  • Twelve honorary consuls located within the Charlotte region
  • More than 715 daily departures to 159 nonstop destinations, including nonstop daily service to international business destinations such as London, Frankfurt, Munich, Rome, Paris, and Mexico City
  • Foreign Trade Zone #57
  • Siemens Energy, Areva NP, Dassault Systèmes, Okuma, Toshiba and Compass among largest foreign-owned firms

When McKinsey Met Uber: The Gig Economy Comes to Consulting

So is the gig economy disrupting the traditional consulting industry?

Yes, according to many experts. Back in 2013, Harvard Business Review published a fascinating article entitled “Consulting on the Cusp of Disruption” which predicted the disruption of established consultants as first smaller, then larger, clients start using alternatives to the big brands for all but “a core of critical work”.

In follow-up to this prediction, the Croixstone Consulting leadership team reviewed this week a newly-published article by Andrew Hill, Management Editor of the Financial Times, entitled “When McKinsey Met Uber: The Gig Economy Comes to Consulting” which spotlights the trend of business consultants setting out on their own as a higher-paid, and growing stratum of “gig consultants”.

We found the following factoids from the Financial Times article to be of particular interest:

  1. 31 percent of management consultants in the UK are self-employed.
  2. 20 percent of staff at the big consultancies leave every year.
  3. 59 percent of consultants made a deliberate choice to become independent (with top triggers including the desire for a career change, wanting more control over time and schedule, and wanting to work with clients in a different way).

Read the full article here (subscription may be required).


Friday Fun Fact – Peanuts, Innovation + the Croixstone Consulting Offices

So what do you do when you get stuck with 500 pounds of unwanted raw peanuts?

If you are an innovator, you see the opportunity to build the foundation for a nearly $2 billion snack foods company. When food broker Phillip L. Lance was stuck with those raw peanuts back in 1913, he looked past the challenge and saw an opportunity to roast the peanuts and sell them on the streets of Charlotte. Those 500 pounds of peanuts, coupled with the visionary talents of a forward-thinking entrepreneur, led to the birth of Lance, Inc., now a publicly-held, multi-billion corporation named Snyder’s-Lance, Inc. that retains its headquarters in Charlotte.

In 1926, Lance built a plant along South Boulevard in Charlotte’s South End neighborhood from which to base its growing company. Fast forward to 2016, and you’ll find the company based in a shiny office tower in Charlotte’s Ballantyne district. The South End plant was renovated as a mixed-used building in the late 1990’s (now known as The Lofts at Factory South) and is home to a vibrant community of small businesses (like Croixstone Consulting!) while also providing cool residential lofts to some of the QC’s most creative folks.

We are inspired by the story of Phillip L. Lance and his legacy as an innovator and business-builder in Charlotte…and we are proud to base our unique Croixstone Consulting offices at his former plant.


5 Ways Work Will Change in the Future

Are you ready to peek into the future?

The Croixstone Consulting team recently reviewed a study published in the UK’s The Guardian newspaper that highlighted five ways that work will change in the future.

1. Workplace Structures
Forget the rigid corporate ladder – now the corporate lattice allows free-flowing ideas and career paths

2. Artificial Intelligence
The robots are coming and if the forecasts are correct, they could impact millions of jobs

3. The Human Cloud
Websites that match employers with freelancers are growing fast

4. Workplace Monitoring
Are you ready to be tracked in a much different way?

5. The End of Retirement
There’s no more automatic “out” at age 65

Read the full article here.


Get the Word Out to the QC’s Social Entrepreneurs

As leaders in the QC’s entrepreneurial community, the Croixstone Consulting team passionately supports Social Venture Partners Charlotte and the organization’s SEED20 program. Social Venture Partners (SVP) is a philanthropic organization passionately attacking the issue of social and economic inequality in Charlotte through venture philanthropy.

The Croixstone team is helping to spread the word about SEED20 (Social Entrepreneurs EmpowereD), a unique program that aligns directly with SVP’s mission of growing and empowering the region’s vibrant social entrepreneur community .  Through this annual program, SVP identifies, spotlights and supports the Charlotte region’s most innovative ideas for tackling pressing social challenges.  Since SEED20’s launch more than 5 years ago, SVP has coached, supported, and showcased over 80 organizations and individuals and given out $160,000 in awards to nonprofit entrepreneurs.

SEED20 is accepting applications through November 1, 2016.  Learn more about SEED20 here.


Snapshot – U.S. Consulting Industry

So how big is the U.S. consulting industry? 

According to data published in June 2016 by Consultancy.uk (an online platform for the advisory and consulting industry), the U.S. consulting industry (the world’s largest and most mature consulting segment), grew strongly last year at a healthy 8% to reach nearly $55 billion.

Given Croixstone Consulting’s home here in Charlotte, the nation’s 2nd largest financial market, it was no surprise to see that, once again, the Financial Services industry remains far and away the U.S. consulting market’s biggest spender. Banks and insurers, among others, spent nearly $14 billion on consultants in 2015, up 9% on last year, although the growth rate was slower than the year previous.

Other industries showed robust growth as well.  Retail was the fastest growing sector, expanding 11% to approach $4 billion as retailers bolstered their digital investments in order to tap into the rise of e-commerce and omnichannel demands. Consulting to the public sector remains the poor relation of the industry, according to the researchers, with a 2.6% growth to $6 billion, as public sector investment sunk to the lowest level in over 60 years. The U.S. energy & resources consulting market grew by 5% to $7.3 billion, while pharma grew by a strong 10% to $1.7 billion, despite mounting pressures in the space, including an increasingly intense debate about drug pricing practices.

Learn more here.


Charlotte is One of Top 25 Future Ready Economies in the USA

Last year, Dell introduced its “Future Ready Economies Model” that identified the top 25 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the country with attributes that enable people and organizations to access new tools and new ideas that deliver better connections, better outcomes – and a better world.

The Croixstone Consulting team has noted with interest that Dell believes that “future ready” cities understand the need to create a collaborative business environment, supporting not only established firms, with their employees and growing number of independent contributors, but also growth-oriented entrepreneurs (knowing that entrepreneurs drive 50% of GDP and 75% of new jobs).

In partnership with IHS Economics, an industry-leading macroeconomics firm, Dell ranked Charlotte at #15 on the USA’s top 25 list of “future ready” cities.

Learn more here.