Mid-sized businesses (MSBs) in Europe have a problem. They are the unsung heroes of our economy, yet they are often the organisations facing the biggest barriers to growth.
At Ricoh we commissioned research into what we call the ‘Middle Child Syndrome’. We found that Europe’s mid-market was missing out on sales of up to €433bn a year by not being as competitive as they would like. What would you do with that money? How about funding not just one, but more than 100 missions to Mars?
With so much at stake, what’s holding 92% of businesses back? Attracting the right talent to the organisation was flagged as an issue by workers at 27% of mid-sized firms, as was complying with complex and costly regulation (31%).
With new regulations emerging all the time, what’s also important for MSBs is being able to stay on top of these regulations while not being held back by red tape.
Given the introduction of the Digital Single Market across Europe, as well as the incoming GDPR regulations on data protection, businesses can be forgiven for this concern. As a result of this, 76% of workers have called for legislators to create a landscape where they can more easily realise their ambitions for growth.
And on another front, 27% of employees raised the difficulty of sourcing and funding the right technology as the joint-third biggest barrier. In relation to this particular finding, it is clear that appropriate technology, well delivered, can provide some of the solutions to making MSBs more competitive.
Working with the right technology partners becomes a key consideration for organisations of this size – if the support is not coming from government, the private sector has to fill that gap to help these firms grow.
Using technology to drive innovation and efficiencies is just one way of doing just that – and this was flagged as a priority for these businesses over the next two years.
A major trend I see in the market right now is businesses embracing workflow automation, as well as exploring the benefits of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Technology gives organisations the tools to create that competitive edge, even if they are feeling frozen out, and, with 70% of medium-sized businesses admitting they suffer from this Middle Child Syndrome I expect these areas to be big drivers for future growth.
Want to find out your Middle Child Syndrome business persona? Take the interactive quiz and get access to our free report.