It’s not always about growing to the next level. Some of the small business superpowers your not-so-big business has are things larger competitors lack, which might mean staying small is better for your organization.
Mergers, Acquisitions and Partnerships – Oh My! 5 Benefits of Keeping Your Small Business Small
If it seems like a lot of companies got bigger by joining forces in the past couple of years, it’s because they did. Deloitte’s Merger and Acquisitions Trends report for 2019 found that 79 percent of responders anticipated they would close more deals over the next 12 months, up from 70 percent in 2018. In addition, more than 80 percent planned to sell off assets in 2019, up from 70 percent the year before.
It can be difficult to watch social media feeds and newswires light up with stories of larger competitors making acquisitions, merging with other companies and forming partnerships for lead acquisition, especially when you know that there are things your small business does better.
Rather than worrying about competing on scale, it might be smarter to leverage those things a small business can do that larger rivals cannot, to make your business more profitable without actually getting bigger. Since you might not know how to leverage these small business superpowers to outpace bigger rivals, we also included a few tips to help you turn advantages like these into growth.
5 Small Business Superpowers Big Rivals Can’t Touch
Unless they go on a reality show like Undercover Boss, most CEOs and executives in large organizations have little contact with real customers on a day in, day out basis. They don’t have a chance to engage in two-way dialogue, collect first-hand feedback about the customer experience or find out what customers wish the brand would do next.
Take every opportunity to listen when customers complain, ask questions, or make suggestions. The insights they provide can tell you exactly what you need to do to make your business better, more profitable and guide your choices when it comes to adding to new products and services.
In a big organization responsibility for mistakes can be passed along until a furor dies down, and accolades for success don’t always trickle down to the employees who really made the difference. For better and for worse, a small business offers their customers accountability and gives every employee a chance to shine.
Leaders who aren’t afraid of taking responsibility for mistakes, missteps and misfires often earn the respect not only from customers, but employees as well. Take responsibility for the mistake and make the solution happen. Worry about tracking the details back later to ensure product or service performance in the future. Be generous with praise. Make sure that everyone on the team has a chance to shine and understands that the success of the one can only ever happen as a result of the effort of the whole.
Bureaucracy, processes, committees and getting the-powers-that-be to change direction or add new projects mean that big companies will almost always take longer to react to marketplace changes and emerging opportunities than a small business. A small business can react and make course corrections quickly. They can communicate almost immediately with all staff who need to make adjustments. They can move resources and redirect efforts in a short period of time when new opportunities emerge. These small business superpowers enable smaller companies to move faster than big ones.
Agility isn’t a verb; rather, it’s a passive state of energy. A small business that prides itself on agility but never takes action is wasting this small business superpower. Make sure that you have a process for discovering and evaluating suggestions, ideas and marketplace changes so that when opportunity strikes, you can strike right back.
As companies get bigger and bigger, it’s not just their offices that start to look like a maze. Trying to figure out who to contact with a question or when a new product or service will hit the floor can be a job in and of itself. A small business can keep things simple. From processes to communication channels and corporate announcements, customers and employees can feel confident that they are in the know about where to go and what’s coming next.
The routes might be clear, but they still need to be mapped. Make sure that you establish methodology for tracking and reporting stats and progress to the team on a regular basis — and then do it — so that everyone knows what they need to do next.
Big companies are often stretched in many different directions, so much so that departments could even end up working to cross purposes or unknowingly undermine one another with prospects and customers. A small business has the luxury of finding and focusing on a few or even one common purpose. Employees not only understand the mission but can work together to achieve the goals with a minimum of disruption, since communication is practically instantaneous, everyone can be apprised of the status of all the projects underway at any given time.
The more consistent a brand experience is, the stronger the impression can be; but remember that a consistently boring experience might be just as bad as a negative one. Decide what type of customer experience your brand should deliver and what you will do to get it done. Ensure that all staff have a clear understanding of how what they do impacts and have the ability to improve the customer experience.
Regardless of size, your company has small business superpowers big competitors can’t replicate. The question is, have you discovered them, and how will you use them for good?
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