For the last seven years I have been spending my time consulting to either startups or mid-market entities. I define the mid-market as companies with about 20 to 200 employees and with several $/£/€ million in revenue. I really love this market segment, I have had some of my best experiences solving problems for these kinds of companies. I think this is often-neglected customer group for software professionals and there is great work to be done working with such companies. My reasons are the following:
First off, these businesses are usually large enough to be able to afford external specialists, such as myself. They have a sizeable payroll with junior and senior staff, so individual consultants do not move their cost base up significantly.
Finance departments are still just a few people and procurement is done by a single person not by committee, usually with a senior director's involvement. You have probably met the person who approves your invoices, so you can speak to a decision maker if there are finance issues.
They are usually growing and ready/willing to investing in technology that drive productivity improvements. They are starting to think about more complex systems, but they have not reached to level of convolution where they need large expensive teams (i.e. other corporates) to help them out. Perfect for a lone software gunslinger like myself.
In doing your work you often have the privilege of dealing directly with the both principal decision makers in the company AND those likely to benefit from value you have come to deliver. Somebody who does strategic planning and decision making for the company can usually see the impact of your contributions, you will often make the working lives of several individuals tangibly better. You will in turn see much more clearly how your efforts impact the company, rather than being mixed with the work of thousands of others, filtered, diluted and changed by the complex structures of a large organisation.
Quite simply, you will be make John and Mary’s lives better, they will feel it, and they will know it is you doing it. Don’t underestimate the value of impacting individual people, which is very satisfying, in addition to improving things like “sales” or “costs” or “profitibility”.
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