The UK middle market is home to some of the world’s most dynamic and exciting businesses. Growth prospects look bright for businesses in this market space but there is no room for complacency in such an uncertain world and now is the time to power middle-market success, writes Paul Anthony, partner, RSM.
Businesses in the middle market are conscious of the number of challenges they need to overcome if they are to maximise their opportunities and meet their long-term ambitions.
Through our support of the Solent 250, we have listened to businesses in terms of their strategy, discussed the issues they face and suggested ideas to support them in making the necessary steps to control risk and accelerate growth.
Harnessing technology for success
In an increasingly digital world, technology can make or break a business. The changes in the UK’s business environment has meant that technology is as valuable a requirement to a business as electricity. Technology is so fast moving, constant development results in current IT systems becoming quickly “outdated”.
The right IT solutions help organisations become smarter, more efficient and productive. Embracing technology and being ready to adapt to change allows a business to remain competitive and feel better prepared to meet changing customer demands.
The solution is simply put – “technology must be a fundamental part of the business strategy”. To move forward with confidence, businesses must first challenge their perceptions of digital change. Employees must be empowered and skilled to deal with the new developments if it is to have a tangible impact. There must be buy-in from the top, including a commitment to hear ideas and a willingness to invest and experiment.
Understanding overseas opportunities
International expansion can create big opportunities for the UK middle market, offering the chance to target new customers, secure larger workforces and reduce production costs. But in an uncertain global economy, how can businesses make confident decisions about overseas growth? The road to global expansion is often long and hazardous; businesses must successfully navigate through significant cultural, political and financial risks.
Recent events in Europe and the United States have only magnified challenges, with new question marks over global economics, currency trends and future trade tariffs. To make sure rewards outweigh risks, businesses must explore all routes to international growth. The right approach and timing has become ever-more critical with those that develop strategies that can adapt to changing world markets reaping the biggest returns. Our experience of working with businesses that have successfully grown overseas has involved focusing on a clear rationale, quantifying risks, developing a flexible strategy, understanding their tax implications and securing buy-in from key stakeholders.
Recruit and retain: managing looming tenure threats
The right people power business growth and create a basis for organisations to innovate, push forward and thrive. But while talent is often a business’s greatest asset, it is also its greatest threat. The competition for talent is fiercer than ever as work demands evolve and companies look for specific skill sets to allow them to grow and remain at the forefront of their sector and industry.
Over the past decade tenure has continued to fall as employees increasingly move companies or careers to stay ahead. To ensure talent does not impede growth, businesses need to improve internal processes to better support their workers. This might include using technology to boost morale, looking for people with the right personalities and cultural fit and creating a robust onboarding strategy.
With the recruitment outlook becoming more challenging in the wake of Brexit, the consequences of doing nothing should not be underestimated. The retention of talent and recruitment of the right people requires a strategic approach with strong board support. Talent and business strategy need to remain hand in hand.
RSM is a leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services to middle market leaders, globally.
With around 3,500 partners and staff in the UK and access to more than 43,000 people in over 120 countries across the RSM network, we can meet our clients’ needs wherever in the world they operate.
As an integrated team, we share skills, insight and resources, as well as a client-centric, collaborative approach that’s based on a deep understanding of our clients’ businesses. This is how we empower you to move forward with confidence and realise your full potential. This is the power of being understood.