Recently a client of mine argued that my company was too small to do the job. Needless to say I was not amused. Especially when we are one of the top companies within our field and this particular client is not a large company anyway! So it was nothing to do with the volume of work, just a slightly naive comment. Rant over. What I really wanted to discuss was how small companies seem to shoot themselves in the foot by not taking advantage of services and products that the larger blue chip companies do.
There are only two excuses that an SME or start up can use when explaining why they don’t act like a blue chip:
- 1. We need to be much more flexible in the way we approach our work.
- 2. It costs too much.
I want to address the latter point. Yes flying employees first class is probably not the kind of practice you want to get into when trying to run a small business, but there are a multitude of examples when managers might just assume that the blue chips pay through the nose for a service and that we cannot afford it.
It is true that blue chips do have multi million pound contracts with various consultancies to get research completed. The good thing is that your company does not need to conduct as much research and as such the cost will be significantly lower. You would be surprised at how little it costs to get independent market research completed – especially if you use one of the purely online tools that utilise a database of people like www.decision-fuel.com. Even if the research was comparatively expensive, surely it is worth the investment to make sure that you are not trying to flog the wrong thing!
Not the most exciting subject. I also want to make it clear that you do not need to have a big brother esque regime in place. In the various small companies that I have worked in, people seem to use their ‘smallness’ as an easy excuse to work in an inefficient manner. IT IS NOT AN EXCUSE! It should be the opposite, you do not have enough money and time to be wasting it. Margins are usually much tighter in small companies then they are in the larger more established ones so put processes in place. If clients are complaining about a certain process then make sure you call a meeting and resolve some of the issues. If anything a small company should be more efficient.
Stick Up For Yourself
Have pride in your company. Just because you are small does not mean that clients hold the power. You are hopefully and expert in your field, at a specialist firm that with all honesty probably provide a better product or service than the big companies.