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How Small Business can compete against their Corporate Rivals

3rd May 2016

An interesting blog posted by Dean Williams in January to give a bit of confidence to the ‘Little’ Man

Big businesses often find themselves too rigid to be flexible. They bemoan their own lack of essential vitality wondering what they could replicate from smaller, more entrepreneurial business and incorporate into their own culture.  At first thought, the shopping list is negligible. After all, who would want all the hassle and grief of being an inconsequential shop-keeper without all the trappings of the corporate world? However, on second thoughts, there are a number of attributes that the bigger business is positively jealous of.

Passion: all successful entrepreneurs are passionate about what they do and what they have been doing over time has contributed to the growth of business as a corporate entity. People who start small have the intention of taking the business to the next level and go all the way to learning the ropes in the cause of business. The driving force keeps the fire burning.

Excitement: most small starters get inspired by what truly excites them and they build on it. Managers of businesses with higher turnover and manpower may not move into new areas of business, not through a lack of excitement of an opportunity, but because of ‘red tape’ with any tactical and strategic approvals to board members who are only interested in projections leading to profits. Aside, decisions for such business may need to be ratified by more than one person and excitement may not be shared by the other decision makers.

Flexibility: small business owners tend to have the opportunity to enjoy flexibility in operation compared to big businesses. A change in policy in a big company is likely to affect almost everything. Small business owners can afford to switch and make changes with little or no consequences on the business.

Responsiveness: small business owners respond to requests faster, due to absence of bureaucracy. Small business owners have fewer people in the management board. Thus, argument and criticism is limited and a faster rate of action can be taken as there are less people in the loop.

Communication: This is simple in a small business because the flow would either be vertical or horizontal with little or no interjections that could delay results. Flow of information could make a temporary stop on the desk of a senior manager who may be unavailable and bottleneck may not allow the flow of effectiveness until such manager is available. Small business is straight and simple and void of complication. The saying goes ‘too many cooks, spoil the broth’, this isn’t the case in a small business, as less decision makers leads to a quicker decision.

Commitment: small business owners know that their life starts and ends with the business they are passionate about. They seem to be more committed to make the business a success compared to bigger companies that command huge market share. Bigger companies may not have much to lose due to the level of relationship with customers. But, small business owners cannot afford to lose sight of dishing out unrivaled commitment to the growth of the business. Sales staff working for a larger company can be forgiven for focusing on sales figures to please their boss, whereas a small business owner often has their livelihood at stake, they have to make it work for them, so their commitment is far greater often working far more hours than the 9 to 5 hours kept by the corporate staff.

Relationship: small businesses have closer relationships with their clients compared to bigger companies that have lost count of their customers. Small business owners know their clients by name and have their details, but managers of bigger companies do not need to have a relationship with the man on the street using one of the thousands of units produced per day. Understanding your customers, sometimes on a personal level can be a huge advantage, they say ‘people buy from people’ so if you are offering a similar product and service at a similar price to a corporate competitor then you are more likely to have more customer satisfaction as they know you compared to speaking to a call centre in the middle of who knows where.
 
Use your strengths you have as a small business to help you ‘out smart’ the bigger companies.