According to research commissioned by Ricoh Europe, MSBs face 'unique' challenges depending on their industry and market. However, the survey also found that the average growth rate last year of the European MSBs was 16.5 per cent, with almost one in five growing at over 30 per cent a year.
The study looked into the challenges faced by 1,650 mid-sized businesses across Europe. Ricoh Europe asked MSBs around Europe to share their top priorities for the next two years, and found that five key objectives rose to the top.
1. Launch new products/services
MSBs across Europe are looking to drive growth by expanding their current product and service portfolios through new product development (NPD) initiatives.
Deploying digital technology has helped 25 per cent of MSBs create new revenue opportunities, while 24 per cent stated that it has helped them improve their market share. The issue for many MSBs is that they often lack the capital to invest in new tools, or the expertise to source and deploy them efficiently.
2. Manage company growth
Seen particularly in France (34%) and the UK (30%), this is an important activity for companies who are transitioning from a small business, and are trying to implement the more formalised structures, governance, processes and even the underlying mind-set necessary to unlock the next level of growth.
Companies looking to grow through M&A activity (22% of those surveyed) must ensure their organisation is prepared to successfully integrate any new resources, while the 38 per cent of firms intending to go public would be looking to shore up inefficiencies before an IPO, so process optimisation could potentially earn them millions.
3. Innovate processes and use of technology to stay ahead of the competition
The vast majority (77%) agree that for a MSB to remain competitive it must innovate processes using technology. Unfortunately, 27 per cent of MSBs are struggling to source and fund the right technology to drive growth. Where it is deployed well, the competitive benefits are clear. 65 per cent of digital adopters say technology has helped them outpace their competitors.
4. Improve productivity of your employees
The majority of MSBs (65%) struggle to attract top talent, as many key recruits would prefer to work for larger firms. Similarly, 58 per cent believe that they don't attract talented graduates because they don't use the latest digital technologies. For MSBs to attract the best talent, they must offer them the best solutions to do their work and be as productive as possible.
5. Invest in new technology to transform your business
Of the MSBs surveyed, 26 per cent named digital transformation to be one of their main priorities in the next two years. In the same breath, many felt that technology was also one of their top three challenges. Namely the challenge to source and fund the right technology to support growth.
The leaders of MSBs have lots on their agendas. Managing today's growth and investing for the future are key responsibilities. If they are to keep growing and take their company to the next level, they must prioritise technology.