Operational Excellence

  • Contingency Planning in the Middle Market

    By Rob Carey

    It happens without warning: an unexpected crisis significantly disrupts the work your company is doing. Depending on the situation, your company may lose an incalculable amount of knowledge, experience, and wisdom — intellectual capital. Every midsize firm must engage in contingency planning so that a significant event will not cause chaos in a firm's operations, stunting its performance for months or years.

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  • Why Paying a Higher Starting Salary Can Create Long-Term Value

    By Rob Carey

    When competing for talent against larger firms, middle market companies must leverage any advantages they have as they negotiate with their most desired candidates. But while a middle market firm can frequently offer unique benefits to a prospect that include a variety of responsibilities or a degree of autonomy that encourages creativity, there are times when a midsized firm is well served by offering a higher starting salary.

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  • How to Budget: Creating Budget Priorities for Your Middle Market Business

    As with so many other strategic initiatives, knowing how to budget for your middle market business is largely about knowing your capabilities and how you want to leverage them in order to maximize return. Budgeting is the careful process of putting your money where your strategy is. The first step of budgeting is making clear connections between your available capital and your middle market company's strategic goals. Once that's done, you can begin making a long list of budget choices, places, purchases or projects where you believe investing capital will generate strong returns and align with your strategy.

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  • Recent Trends in Unemployment Rates Are Encouraging for Middle Market Companies

    By Rob Carey

    A quick look at the US jobs landscape over the past few months reveals a hopeful, if unspectacular, trend. First, unemployment rates have held steady at 6.7 percent since late January 2014, with job growth improving by a monthly average of about 187,000 since November 2013. Second, unemployment rates have come down from 7.5 percent in March 2013 and are expected to continue heading slowly downward as we move through 2014.

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  • Middle Market Average Salary and Unemployment: A Complex Interrelationship

    The National Center for the Middle Market has already offered analysis on the potential impact on middle market companies of a proposed increase in the federal minimum wage. As NCMM articles have made clear, there's also a trend among the U.S. states to raise their respective minimum wages, with 21 states so far mandating a minimum wage above the current federal level of $7.25.

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  • Managing Employee Benefits: 3 Critical Issues to Consider

    By Rob Carey

    The time is right for middle market executives to assess the administration of their benefits systems and to ensure optimal function for employees while also advancing the firm's strategic goals. With nearly all of the plan regulations and reporting requirements of the Affordable Care Act now in effect, it's clear that managing employee benefits is among the most complex and time-consuming tasks faced by middle market companies today.

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  • How to Create a Work Culture That's More Productive

    We would all like to have a more productive work culture and cross off as many items on our to-do lists as possible. But to prevent wasted time and energy, you first have to get clear about your definitions, says Massachusetts-based consultant Ann Latham. "Employees must understand what success looks like in order to achieve it," she says. "Most people are blind to how much time they and their organization are wasting. The farther they are from the production line, where both flow and snags are usually quite conspicuous, the more true this is. Companies that would never tolerate frequent disruptions to a production line tolerate cumbersome decision-making, confusing roles and responsibilities, lengthy and worthless meetings, and much, much more on a daily basis."

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  • Aligning Your Capital Expenditures and Your Middle Market Company's Strategy

    Allocating capital expenditures for your middle market business, also known as capital budgeting, is never easy. There are always multiple investments that seem eminently worthy, such as new equipment and new hires, that are all promising to return your investment at different rates, both short-term and long-term. Budgeting is inherently future-oriented, based on underlying assumptions about your market, your company's ability to properly execute, compliance issues, and much more.  Read More >
  • Digital Security Can Protect Corporate IT

    Are you concerned about digital security compromises of your company's IT infrastructure? You shouldn't be concerned — you should be scared. Whether it's denial of service attacks, theft of credit card data, or social engineering, attacks on IT infrastructure are becoming more common. It's critical that you empower your IT staff. They are your front line of defense. I was recently speaking with a friend who manages internal IT systems for a mid-sized financial company. He said that his staff wants to migrate their core servers that are approaching Windows Server 2003 end-of-life.  Read More >
  • Turn Tax Liability Into Business Strength

    Tax liability is an ugly phrase, whether applied to your business or personal life. It means money you thought you had but apparently won't any more. The taxpaying corporation must send a check to Uncle Sam, state revenue officials, or a city or town instead of spending the money on something that could offer a return on investment.  Read More >
  • Changes in GAAP Accounting and the Impact on Mid-Market Businesses

    One of the best ways to learn more about the middle market is to take advantage of events tailored specifically to middle market companies. The National Center for the Middle Market and the Association for Corporate Growth recently convened a group of experts from GE, Deloitte, and The Ohio State University to provide a customized mid-market overview of the most recent and significant changes in generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The featured experts highlighted how these GAAP changes can impact mid-market companies.  Read More >
  • Build an Effective Open Door Policy

    By Rob Carey
    Having an open door policy, where employees are free to approach upper-level management regarding any issue, seems like a winning position for a company to take. It promotes employee engagement, improves morale, and reduces turnover while allowing the firm access to internal knowledge and inspiration that could improve efficiency, productivity, growth, and adherence to ethics. Right?  Read More >

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