Opinion

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Does the mid-market have middle-child syndrome?

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The mid-market is vital to the UK’s wellbeing. The sector employs 11.2 million people and contributes £307bn to the UK’s GDP. 

Put another way, 1.67 per cent of companies in the UK are contributing over a third of private sector GDP, revenues and employment. Overall, a very positive picture… but things weren’t always so rosy.

Five years ago, the CBI described the mid-market as the forgotten army. The sector wasn’t attracting much attention from government and companies were locked out of funding. You could say they’d started to develop middle-child syndrome.

Middle-child syndrome

Now, the mid-market is blossoming; it’s the envy of its siblings. Focused on improving their performance in every way – from products, procedures and costs, to management and structure – mid-market companies have many distinct, admirable characteristics associated with growth by innovation. 

They’re inherently more nimble than their larger competitors, meaning they can adapt to both internal and external changes quickly. They also have the resources and infrastructure to withstand market conditions that smaller rivals may find challenging. 

This “personality” gives mid-market businesses the confidence to try new things; they’re not afraid to experiment using technology in cool new ways because they’re agile enough to bounce back. But more often than not, their taste for adventure leads mid-market firms to the forefront of innovation and to growth and success. 

Across the full range of industries, they’re taking advantage of technologies like mobile, cloud and enterprise social collaboration tools to go from strength to strength.

For luxury lifestyle brand Quintessentially, the specialist knowledge of its consultants is vital to the service it delivers, so its London Nightlife team clocks new club openings months in advance. Using a social collaboration tool for business, insights like these are shared instantly with employees in 60-plus countries – regardless of whether they’re at their desks or out and about – allowing Quintessentially to deliver unsurpassed customer service.

Support is needed

But the mid-market needs support to flourish. As the middle child, it’s part of a family – of the wider economy and business eco-systems – and families thrive through support and encouragement from parents – from the Government and the private sector.

UK mid-market companies estimate their revenues would have been higher by 2.1 per cent, or £41.8bn, with greater access to finance. 

What’s more, the fastest growing companies were the most concerned about keeping up with new technology advancements. So Government and private sector have an important parental role to play in nurturing the mid-market – whether that’s through funding or by offering affordable and scalable solutions geared towards this segment.

Read more about the strength of Britain’s mid-market:

Pro-enterprise measures

And they’re rising to the challenge. The new Government is putting in place pro-enterprise measures to support the mid-market, while investors like Lloyds are injecting £1.2bn into the segment over next three years. And companies like mine are opening – and speeding up access to – technologies like cloud and mobile apps via business eco-systems, which can helping to empower mid-market employees to collaborate.

Has the mid-market finally found its calling? It’s coming through loud and clear. Now is the time to sit up and listen to its needs to ensure the sector can excel.

Eileen O’Mara is European mid-market lead for Salesforce.

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