Every organization faces challenges. It’s part of the business landscape. Some are easy to overcome… others, not so much. Unresolved issues are a common reason why executives and owners toss and turn at night… if you are one of them or know someone who is… read on.

Mid-sized companies face particular challenges as they try to improve post-pandemic business results. There are many reasons for this:

  • Retaining or recruiting skilled employees creates a multi-sided challenge.  Without those skilled employees, customers may not be receiving the proper care; costly mistakes are made with more frequency, and morale may be affected as the best and brightest flee uncertainty and lack of clarity.  Covid has had a powerful effect on retention and attracting “A” players.  Such matters as working conditions, wages, benefits, company culture, lack of clear company mission and vision, unrealistic company goals, and poor follow-through on initiatives are but a few conditions that affect a company’s ability to retain top leadership talent and effective front-line managers. If retaining top talent is a concern for your company, rethink your value-proposition to prospective employees.  Generational differences need to be taken into account.  Putting employees first means training and team building; autonomy to get their jobs done; and employee engagement that has impact, such as mentoring, awarding special assignments and career development opportunities, recognizing individual and team success, large or small; investing in meaningful benefits packages, and paying a fair wage to all. If you are taking care of your employees, they will take care of your customers.
  • Securing financing for business as usual undertakings as well as for expansion has become more difficult.  While federal assistance had been given to businesses during the height of Covid, these funds were generally applied to maintaining the status quo.  Before Covid, over 50% of employers agreed that there had been improvements in the rate of economic growth over the previous few years, but less than 20% anticipated that this growth will continue.  Finding traditional and venture funding for expansion requires the company’s ability to present to investors demands a strong business plan, solid strategic implementation, and strong and consistent revenue and profit results.  Using the One Page Business Plan, the company can break a three-year strategic plan into one-year plans and break those one-year plans down to 90-day objectives.  By meeting objectives every three months, businesses can start to benefit from the investment as a result of their ability to execute a strategic business plan. 
  • Developing new and innovative products/services.  Competition is fierce and those who can get closest to the customer through consumer research and by providing meaningful, new products/services are going to be the winners.  Building adequate R&D into annual budgets can help keep fresh ideas flowing and ensure that new products/services are being sent to market.
  • Fulfilling ongoing and increasing government regulations through compliance and proper reporting poses continued challenges for mid-sized companies.  Mid-sized companies are particularly affected because they are often required to allocate staff and other resources to fulfill compliance and administrative regulation.  This can be costly, time-consuming, and can affect the company’s ability to focus on its strategic objectives.  One consideration to make is to outsource compliance to a company that specializes in that area.  In addition, tax laws and rules require the same level of attention as paid to compliance, if not more.  Again, outsourcing may be the answer to ensuring that the company is meeting its tax obligations. 
  • Selling to foreign markets appears to be a lower-level challenge faced by mid-sized companies.  Perhaps the reason is that the companies are too US-centric.  However, as the world economy continues to have a significant impact on US business’ ability to compete favorably in this country because many countries flood the market with more innovative and cost-effective products/services, mid-sized businesses need to make a footprint in strategic foreign markets to continue to successfully grow and prosper.
  • Mediocre marketing (digitally or otherwise), improper competitive pricing, unresolved product/service situations, and more.  If new customers are to be gained then a better understanding of consumer needs for a company’s products/services is essential.  Finding a competitive edge in the crowded marketplaces of today requires that every business dedicate sufficient time, money, and other resources to make sure the company has done everything it can to stand out.

These high-level challenges can be overcome.  Selecting, the right leadership team– people with the right skills and habits for the role–is among the most important action a company can take.  If the members of that team act in lockstep relative to vision and mission and are constantly communicating about the success in meeting key business objectives, they are on their way to higher employee engagement, productivity, and worker longevity in the company.

The culture of a company is driven by the values of its leaders.  Leaders must walk the talk of values and observe how those values are demonstrated by employees.  These values crystalize around professional behavior, integrity, and honesty; providing “bend over backward” customer service; promoting and demonstrating initiative and innovation; and mutual respect. Constant reminders through the actions of the company’s leaders of core values are key to help build a strong culture of mutual trust and productivity.  The saying, “Culture beats strategy every time” has more meaning than ever as we pass through the pandemic and face ever-changing market conditions and consumer demands and behaviors.

While we’ve touched on strategy, it bears stating that creating strategies and then executing them has many positive impacts on the business.  Aside from increased revenue and possible increased profits, employees benefit from knowing and understanding their role in helping the company win.  The One Page Business Plan offers turnkey tools to help build meaningful and prioritized strategies that tie to key business objectives, mission, and vision through action plans that foster implementation.

Performance measurement is more than keeping track of revenues and profits.  Employee engagement and productivity, turnover, marketing campaign effectiveness, customer satisfaction, and others need to be measured and result in continuous improvement.  Selecting the right combination of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can be a challenge, one that takes trial and error to determine what measures those variables that impact business success.  As Peter Drucker has told us, “What gets measured, gets done.”  The One Page Business Plan’s cloud-based accountability tools, if used, ensure that the chain of command knows what is happening with business plan execution and individuals’ performance of their action plans.  Follow through, often the Achilles heel of organizations is tantamount.

The consequences of not addressing the issues laid out above are numerous:

  • Cash flow, profitability, and returns suffer
  • The availability of new capital shrinks
  • Profits continue to decline
  • Price becomes the only basis of competition
  • Customer-base growth and retention stay flat or declines
  • Succession planning falters
  • Staff turnover increases

To avoid the negative consequences listed above, you need a plan, a means to communicate and a means to measure results. One Page Business Plans can help you do just that!