In entrepreneurship and corporate dynamics, businesses often find themselves navigating various roles and identities. Some companies shine brightly as the eldest, pioneers and trendsetters in their industries. Others bask in the attention of being the youngest, innovative and disruptive. However, there exists a category of businesses that often goes unnoticed and struggles to garner the recognition it deserves – the middle child.
Just like the middle child in a family, businesses can experience what is often referred to as the “Middle Child Syndrome.” This phenomenon is characterized by a sense of being overlooked, underappreciated, and overshadowed by both their elder and younger counterparts. Here are some reasons why a business might be treated like a middle child:
Established Competition: Middle children often find themselves sandwiched between more established siblings and the younger, more contemporary counterparts. Similarly, businesses in mature industries may struggle to stand out against long-standing competitors while also facing the pressure to keep up with emerging trends.
Lack of Freshness: The novelty of being the first or the latest can often overshadow the middle child. In business, the lack of groundbreaking innovations or unique selling points might result in the company being perceived as less exciting or less relevant than others in the market.
Resource Allocation: Just as middle children might feel like they receive less attention or resources in a family, businesses in the middle may find themselves with limited resources. Senior management may allocate resources to either the well-established departments or the promising new ventures, leaving the middle business units with fewer opportunities for growth.
Balancing Act: Middle children are often known for their ability to navigate and mediate between their siblings. Similarly, businesses in the middle may find themselves juggling between maintaining existing operations and adapting to changing market demands. This balancing act can be challenging and may lead to a lack of focus on their unique strengths.
Innovation Pressure: The pressure to innovate is particularly high for businesses positioned in the middle. They must compete with the established players by offering something new, while also keeping an eye on the younger, more agile companies that are disrupting the market with fresh ideas.
Check back on Dec 22 for Part 2, the best ways to help your business overcome Middle Child Syndrome.