Being small in business isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, small businesses have a lot of advantages over their larger competitors. Small business collectively is the world’s biggest business. Small businesses have perfected the arts of travelling light, living frugally and being able to quickly change direction. Recognising the specialised nature of small business can help you appreciate and use some of the advantages you enjoy.
The CEO is multifunctional
The decision making powers of a small business owner permit a great degree of flexibility. You’re in charge and don’t have to let opportunities slip by. If you need specialist advice you don’t have to create a new position; you can simply hire it in on an hourly basis.
Owners win by networking
Through trade associations, chambers of commerce and other business related organisations small business owners can become highly effective networkers. Think of the sources you can tap for knowledge and assistance to help grow your business:
· Your competitors – exchange ideas, share market knowledge, perhaps even find reasons for a joint venture
· Your clients – discover better ways to serve them, find out what your competitors are doing to attract them away from you
· Your suppliers – another source of knowledge about your competitors and a way to find out about new developments in the marketplace
· Your team – small businesses can become the basis for close social relationships, especially if families are involved
You’re one of the team
Small business owners can harness the power of their entire team to analyse situations and come up with the best course of action to follow; their knowledge can be tapped into quickly and effectively. This makes small businesses more efficient. Time isn’t wasted in communicating background information. More importantly, it allows team members to work together to identify and eliminate bottlenecks and to respond to unexpected changes in the marketplace.
You can change quickly
Small businesses can be as flexible as they like when it comes to new product offerings and capitalising on market trends. This is a facility that needs to be given lots of attention; study the market, see what’s ‘hot’ and put it into your offering. Admittedly there will always be a risk with being the first to offer something new, but you could also wind up in the position of market leader, well ahead of any of your competitors. And even if something doesn’t work you can change it quickly. Get rid of it and move on.
Generate a feeling of trust
Consumers no longer blindly trust big business chain stores with outlets on every street corner. They’re beginning to reject them and to seek out more individualistic offerings with a personalised aspect and less formulaic service systems. The brands and products of a small business can become the ‘big finds’ of customers looking for something new, special and different. If you’re unforgettable and even a bit hard-to-get you can become a cult favourite.
You can do more with less
Small businesses have learned to live with less while targeting growth. They can quickly adapt to both good times and bad. They can benefit from having low cost promotions that appear sincere because they’re done on tight budgets. Small business marketing creates consumer appeal even if it’s imperfect. Simple advertising - if it’s done well - can be incredibly successful with consumers who are sated with big company hype. Consumers respect reality; they have to live with it.