Part X: How Small & Mid Sized Companies Become Large

In this part of the series: How Small & Mid Sized Firms Grow discusses how to innovate and encourage your team to seek out opportunities which is done by well managed companies.

In a fast changing world innovation has almost become critical to survival today for many companies. It was not that long ago that simply keeping things together and running an efficient business was enough to grow and remain profitable. This is no longer the case for more and more companies. The Internet, social media, computers, international competition, changing regulations and many other factors has led to the need to be relevant or become obsolete.

This is not just the case in high tech, but can be found everywhere as companies from Blockbuster and Ritz Camera Centers to Mervyns and Aloha Airlines, not to mention some 50,000 much smaller companies per year, who have gone bankrupt during the last 4 years. We will continue to go over modern management practices such as market analysis, metrics and pricing issues; but innovation is a different animal. It can not be quantified or so easily taught. It is an environment that when the right people are there, something just clicks and new ideas come out that that can turn a small company into something really special.

We have seen this with large companies such as Microsoft with Gates and Allen, Apple with Jobs and Wazniak and Google with Page and Brin. But there are thousands of people every day who have made just enough of an innovative difference to keep their employer ahead of the competition every day. It does not have come out of the R&D lab and be worthy of a patent to be called innovative. It might be a twist to a volume discount program just innovative enough to win you a large client, or listening closely enough to a client’s complaints to create an innovative solution that sets you apart from the competition.

So how does one create this environment? First of all this is more of an art then a science. But there are well managed companies like Google that set 20% of their peoples’ time aside to work outside the box to create their own next big idea. They select and then surround bright employees with other such people and things happened to make them the innovative leader they have become. Be sure however that free time does not become play time. This is where the chemistry has to have the right elements, mixed under the right conditions for the reaction to take place. Google takes great pains to select the right people, inculcates them with their philosophy, exposes them to the latest ideas, places them under a good group and watches for innovative concepts to percolate. You may not be high tech but the same formula can work anywhere.

Our next blog will discuss hiring, managing and motivating your sales reps. To see all articles in this series please go to

Optimal Management is the premier management consulting company to the staffing industry. We act as mentors to owners and managers to maximize their sales, profits and value of their company. We become an extension of our clients operations and are there for all of their staffing and business needs, from sales, marketing and compensation plans, to finance, M&A, general management and everything in between.


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