5 Challenges of Mid-Size Companies
Note this article Originally appeared on LinkedIn, here.
Many mid-size companies experience unique challenges. They are going head-to-head competing with large organizations, armed with a fraction of the assets. However, through creative resourcefulness successful entrepreneurs are not only competing but finding great success in the mid-market. The following list is by no means exhaustive, but highlights 5 of the top challenges faced by mid-size organizations.
Mid-size businesses can be hit hard by IT challenges. The organization is complex and requires more structure than a small business, but it doesn’t have the same needs as an enterprise. The daily task of keeping everyone connected and the network flowing smoothly can add unnecessary burden for an existing team member. Many owners believe their IT requirements aren’t however large enough to warrant added a dedicated position. It’s important to remember here that your IT systems likely effect the productivity of the entire organization. Any time lost due to system issues can multiple exponentially. To decide whether your situation warrants adding IT staff, you have to analyze the total productivity that can be gained or loss prevented. If you don’t think your situation warrants in-house IT, consider reaching out to managed service providers who can offer outsourced support services.
As revenues and expenses increase the financial complexity of your business grows. When most small businesses begin, their bookkeeping is performed on a cash basis. Meaning, revenue is recorded when cash is received, and expenses recorded when cash goes out. However as small businesses become mid-sized many often choose to switch to accrual accounting, which can provide several advantages. Under accrual accounting revenue is recognized when it is earned and expenses when they are incurred. Accrual accounting can provide a much more detailed representation of the financial status of a company. There are also tax implications that should be considered. If your company is growing and you’re not confident in your financial structure, reach out for professional assistance sooner rather than later. Many companies could have avoided financial crisis simply by seeking professional guidance during early growth.
Structured new employee training is often overlooked when mid-size companies begin to grow. Many of these companies never had formal training plans when their head-count was smaller. It’s much simpler to have everyone on the same page when you’re working in a more intimate environment. When companies are growing rapidly, they often make the mistake of believing they don’t have time to train new hires. Managers are anxious to get them in the field and gain productivity. However, any short-term productivity gained will soon be marginalized by the lack of structure you are allowing in your business processes. This is true throughout all levels of the organization. If the CEO is hiring managers and not defining expectations, and said managers are doing the same with their staff, the trickle-down effect can be disastrous.
It goes without saying that the team you put in place is crucial to ensure continued growth. Yet, attracting highly qualified candidates can be a real struggle for mid-size companies. You simply aren’t able to match the salary and benefits packages large companies can offer. To overcome this obstacle, successful mid-size businesses get creative. Utilize your growth and potential to entice employees. Share with them your projected growth and the promotional opportunities that will arise. Find out what’s important to the employee. If it suits the position, consider offering flexible scheduling. Offer larger bonuses that are tied directly to bottom line metrics, ensuring win-win outcomes. Remember, while everyone wants to get paid, internal motivations vary by person.
We often see companies that have experienced tremendous growth yet have created an unintended culture in the process. Of all the crises to overcome, fixing a wayward organizational culture can be the most difficult and expensive. It is always the responsibility of the CEO or ownership to continually monitor the culture of the firm. Is your growth coming at the expense of customer support? Are your policies representative or your values? The good news is that if you treat your people and customers right, while keeping the rest of your house in order (ex: finance, training, etc), you have the opportunity to define a culture people want to be a part of. And, a desirable culture will drive profitable results. Leading to, lower employee churn, repeat customers, and positive word of mouth which can all have a dramatic increase on your bottom line.
What strategies have used to grow your company? Have you developed creative efficiencies to gain advantage? Remember the people, systems, and processes you implement today will define what your company will become tomorrow.