We’ve all heard the cliché that good things come in small packages. Personally, that’s why I always enjoy anything that comes in a little blue box (smile).
Seth Godin translates that point to the business world in a recent post. He asks the simple question – why should someone do business with a small company if they can’t offer advantages over large companies? Small businesses can and should leverage their size as a competitive advantage. Yes, there are things that larger companies will do better but there are many ways that a small company can outperform the giants.
Accessibility – One of the huge advantages that small companies can provide lies in the area of service. For example, when you call my company…you get me. Not some automated voicemail system or some receptionist. I personally pick up the phone. What’s better than having clients know they have a direct pipeline to you? No waiting. A former boss used to let visitors ‘marinade’ in the lobby of his office so they could stare at his awards. He thought it was a subtle way to market his business. I, on the other hand, always thought they were busy people who wanted to spend their money with us. So acknowledge that their time is valuable and don’t make them wait.
Agility – Small companies should have less bureaucracy by virtue of their size and therefore be in a position to react to their clients faster. Need something right away…no worries. As a small company, I can make that promise and know that I can and will deliver. I’ve seen sales people in larger firms have to come back to ask someone for permission – sometimes repeatedly – before they can make a commitment to their customer. At the end of every year, talent prognisticator The Herman Group provides their workplace forecast. For several years now, agility has been on their list as an organizational strategic weapon.
So the next time you are looking for a business, remember: bigger isn’t always better. And, for my friends who own and operate those small businesses…don’t forget to understand and leverage your strengths.