Expert Perspectives

Stay informed by our faculty and fellows regarding recent insights, commentary, and opinions on middle market business challenges, growth factors, and opportunities.

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  • Your Evacuation Plan: What Employees Need to Know

    Every middle market company should have a facility evacuation plan as a part of its broader continuity planning. Even just a few employees working at a remote office will need to know when it's necessary to evacuate a building and how to safely do so. Similarly, a larger facility will need a well-thought-out plan so that, should dangerous conditions arise, people will know how to shut down operations and take the best routes to safety.

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  • Content Marketing and the Middle Market: Engaging Today's Customers

    Content marketing has been growing in recent years. Companies seek to publish materials, such as e-newsletters, videos, blog posts and case studies, that engage customers and prospects by addressing their needs. According to a recent Content Marketing Institute survey of midsized companies, the two most popular forms of content are articles at 78 percent and social media posts at 73 percent. The pure number of middle market companies adopting these strategies has been growing fast. The survey also found that, among business-to-business firms in the middle market, 89 percent had adopted content overall. One would expect a similar number in the business-to-consumer segment.

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  • Delivering a Keynote Presentation: 7 Steps to Success

    Middle market managers are sometimes asked to give a keynote presentation, whether at a company event, a conference or a local chamber of commerce meeting. It's an honor to be asked to share your know-how. After all, midmarket leaders are often important members of their local business communities. However, if you want to be asked back, you'd better know how to effectively deliver a keynote.

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  • Going Back to School: Should You Provide Tuition Assistance?

    One of your middle market employees is going back to school, and asks for your help. First off, don't necessarily take this as bad news. It's an opportunity for both the employee and your middle market company to grow. By going back to school, employees show ambition and a praiseworthy intention to develop skills. Yes, that person's desire might inconvenience your middle market company in the short term; there will be some rescheduling to juggle work and study. However, the key for your company is simple: Be as supportive as you can, because you'll get a long-term return with increased productivity, loyalty and retention.

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  • Regular Website Maintenance Is Necessary to Maintain a Strong Brand

    Countless companies have devoted considerable time and effort toward the initial design, functionality and testing of their websites. However, some internal stakeholders often misunderstand a website's launch as the end of a process. It is actually just the beginning. In fact, a company has a responsibility to ensure that its online presence always works well for users, always furthers the company's objectives and always has adequate security against hackers.

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  • Are You A Disruptor or Are You Being Disrupted?

    Disruptive technology has existed ever since the invention of movable type, but the pace at which disruption occurs is increasing exponentially. If you accept the theory - and you should - that you can either be the disrupted or the disruptor, it becomes apparent that you need to develop the skill of peering into the future to see what's next before anyone else does. But how do you predict the future when you're running as fast you can just managing and growing your ​middle market business?

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  • Building a Cloud Technology Blueprint for Your Company

    The potential benefits of cloud technology are tangible and tempting for middle market firms. The ability to store company data in a system that can always scale up to meet rising needs is a game changer, especially for midsized companies with little room for error in their IT expenditures. What's more, the various cloud functionalities available from third-party applications allow midmarket firms to battle larger competitors on a more equal footing in critical areas, including data analytics that help inform research and development, sales, marketing and customer service. Other cloud applications improve worker efficiency, thus strengthening the bottom line.

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  • Midmarket Firms and BYOD Policy: Balancing Convenience and Protection

    Among companies of all sizes, the practice of allowing employees to "bring your own device" (BYOD) is becoming more commonplace. For executives at midsized firms, though, the first impulse might be to reject a BYOD policy. After all, midmarket companies do not have IT departments as deep as those at large companies, which can often handle the wide variety of laptops and mobile devices that employees bring. The concerns about business effectiveness, along with network and data security, will naturally give midmarket executives pause.

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  • Cloud Computing and Middle Market Firms: A Good Match?

    The Information Technology Lab at the National Institute of Standards and Technology characterizes cloud computing as "a pay-per-use model for enabling available, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g. networks, servers, storage, applications, services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction." In plain English, here's what that means: Companies can use cloud computing to leverage external technology applications and tools that improve back-office functionality and make client-related processes more robust. What's more, companies only have to purchase the amount of functionality necessary to meet their immediate needs, and they can scale up quickly and precisely whenever their business conditions change.

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  • Trademarks 101: What They Are and Why They Need Protecting

    A trademark helps differentiate your middle market company's goods and services from anyone else's. You can trademark your company name, its logo, its product names and its slogan. If a new company enters the market, it cannot use the names or symbols of an existing company in that same market without violating the senior company's trademarks. They represent legally protected rights and allow for exclusive use so that when any company invests in its brand equity, no other company can steal it.

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  • 6 Ways Attending a Trade Show Can Improve Your Marketing

    There's a reason that companies see a trade show as a good marketing tool. Instead of trying to maintain relationships at arm's length, you have a chance to actually meet the people you do business with. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, 70 percent of attendees plan to buy products, 76 percent ask for quotes and 26 percent sign purchase orders. Additionally, 88 percent haven't met the company's sales staff in the past year. Shows provide an important opportunity to convert leads into customers.

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  • Annual Reviews: Why You Should Separate Performance and Pay

    Both middle market managers and their employees dislike annual reviews. Managers, already overburdened by the year's end, must prepare reports and sit down with each of their team members to evaluate performance and salary issues. Employees, on the other hand, are anxious about their bonuses and are only listening for how their performance ratings impact their income. Could anything be more uncomfortable and a waste of time on both sides?

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