It seems like every day companies are merging or being bought by a venture capital firm. The technology market is no exception. fact, it leads the way with massive moves regularly.
As this market consolidation continues full steam ahead business owners are caught in the middle having to decide on which type of provider is the best fit for their business. I’m not knocking big businesses as they can often deliver services at a lower price, they are able to better serve larger companies, and typically have a much larger global reach. However, it is important to call out the advantages small companies have over the big players.
Flexibility: As a business grows there is a need to compartmentalize. When doing this it makes larger businesses rigid and unable to pivot quickly. Multiple layers of controls are in place and many approvals are needed to make any changes, no matter how small. Small businesses can make big changes much more easily. They can identify problems sooner and take actions quickly to correct them. Small businesses can also customize or personalize their products and services to meet the different needs of their customers.
Culture: Small business’ foundations are built on culture. Everyone knows everyone and open-door policies are the norm. Typically, the owner is only a knock away. When you have a strong company culture, employees stay longer. Having a team of employees that stay together for a long time allows for advanced customer knowledge which leads to better efficiencies and more success.
Passion: There are many reasons people choose to work for smaller businesses and one of the leading reasons is passion. Small businesses allow employees to dive deeper into their profession, explore more, learn more, and share more, all without limitations of department structure. They feel part of something- more than just a number.
Creativity: When someone is passionate is in the right cultural setting and has flexibility, creativity thrives. It is through this creativity that businesses and staff evolve to be the best they can be. They are constantly looking for how to do something better or faster and provide innovative options to the customer to improve how they do business.
Communication: I don’t know a business of any size that doesn’t say communication is key to success. Lack of communication can cost both money and performance. In small businesses communication is much easier. Not only do you know everyone, but you also know exactly whom to talk to if you have a question or want to share, and they are often right next to you or around the office corner. This availability allows for creative thinking, problem solving, and overall business improvements.
Customer Service: We’ve all been there. You call a big business and you wade through the many phone prompts or verbally wrestle with the automated attendant until you inevitably start yelling operator at the phone. When working with a small business, the phone is typically answered by a real human that knows you- like really knows you, your kids name, and the last vacation you took. This is because small businesses can take the time to get to know their customers and have a greater investment into the people side of the relationship.
There will always be opportunities to engage with bigger and smaller business. As I outlined, they both have their advantages. The next time you are evaluating a new business partner, keep these points in mind when you make the final decision.