Today’s blog is a guest post by marketeer, mum of twins and long standing buddy of mine, Lyndsey McCullough.
Many people who run businesses may dream of the day when their company is considered “large” (over 75 employees).
But as Lyndsey explains, bigger is not always necessary better…
Small is Beautiful
When I first started out as a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed business graduate, I worked for a small start-up company. My role was titled “marketing executive”, yet it quickly became apparent that in small businesses you wear many hats. So I performed a wide range of tasks from answering phones, creating new sales materials and selling products and services, to creating new services to sell, developing quality assurance procedures and doing accounts and payroll. And every so often I badgered the company’s directors with strategic marketing questions like “Where is the company going?” and “What is our unique selling point?”
Even though I loved the variety of my work, I always felt in awe of the larger companies that we competed with. They had slick marketing campaigns and seemingly endless budgets at sales conferences to give away pens and glossy information packs; while I stood with little mini bags of Haribo sweets and a terrified smile, hoping no industry experts would ask me anything difficult.
I am now on the other side of the fence, working for a large multi-national company, and it never fails to amaze me that many of the challenges that I faced working in that small start-up exist on a much larger scale in big organisations. Like trying to find out where the business is going or how do we really differentiate ourselves in the marketplace? I now have the luxury of wearing fewer hats, but the cost of this is that I don’t have any clue about how the other areas of the business are performing. I am now a small cog in a very large, slow-moving machine.
In my experience the key advantage that every small business owner has over the “big guys” is this – You KNOW your customers. You speak to them regularly, you get feedback directly – either by no return purchases or because they phone you and tell you. Large companies spend a fortune on market research to tell them exactly what you already know. They are always looking to small companies to learn how to do things better; to be more dynamic or to see what the “next big thing” will be.
So if you own or work in a small business, rejoice! Don’t be in awe of those large competitors – you are more of a threat to their business than they are to yours.