5 Advantages of Being A Small Business

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It’s Small Business Week in the U.S., a good time to write about my pet theory: being small is an advantage. Big businesses have big resources, what do small businesses have?

Small businesses are closer to the customer.

Hummingbird and flower
Small can be both beautiful and effective

If you’re a small-business owner or marketer, you know your best customers by name. You know why they are good customers — which goes beyond being just regular to being easy to work with, or maybe they give you constructive feedback. If you’re a B2B business, you know their business challenges. If you’re a bakery, you know Donna loves cheesecake and is allergic to walnuts.

Why is this an advantage? Because it makes it so much easier to tailor your marketing and sales to them. To tell Donna she might want to try the new mango cheesecake just in and that you’re baking a fresh set of nut-free brownies. Big businesses have to get sophisticated CRM systems to keep track of that stuff…  but small businesses can do it more organically and easily.

Small businesses can be more personal.

And this is a big advantage in social media as well as in the real world. People connect with people. The social media manager of a big brand has to adhere closely to brand guidelines, to make sure PR and legal and other departments won’t object to what she’s saying on Twitter.

But if you’re the owner or marketer of a small business, you can be yourself (with no swearing, unless you’re cool with that), and that will help customers know you better. This has a downside — anything you say gets associated with your business.

As a customer, would you prefer to know you can call up Bob at the furniture store or that you have to call a customer service number and talk to someone you’ll never talk to again?

Small businesses can more easily have a consistent brand personality.

It’s easier to communicate your brand strategy to fewer employees. You can lead your sales or service people by example and show how you want them talking to and serving customers. You can edit your blog posts (even guest posts) and post on your social media profiles yourself, and make sure of the voice you want your customers to hear.

For a big business, making sure all their marketing and all their employees are communicating in the same voice is much more difficult.

Small businesses can be more agile.

Small business can afford to make mistakes, to experiment. You can try out a Pinterest profile, realize it won’t work for you, and stop. You can decide today that you want to go with a new brand message. You can use the feedback you got from a customer yesterday to decide to build a new feature or add a new service.

Gini Dietrich said in her interview with me:

In today’s real-time, fast-moving world, small businesses have a huge advantage in that they can react more quickly. They can be nimble and flexible to measure and improve their efforts monthly, if not weekly, where the larger organizations have too much red tape to get through before a decision can be made.

Small businesses are more focused.

As a small business, you’re (usually) not looking to get a few million customers. You don’t have to worry about a gigantic strategy that disrupts the entire market. What you need is a niche.

As Aparna V. Singh said:

Small businesses have the advantage of fewer resources. You are forced to focus on doing the things really critical to your business, and constantly evaluate whether the things you do are making a difference.

What do you like about being in/working in a small business?

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3 thoughts on “5 Advantages of Being A Small Business

  1. Unmana – Agree with all your points. While small businesses may not have the size and scale of their large competitors they can take advantage of customer intimacy and personal relationship to compete effectively.

    You might also be interested in an article I wrote the topic of how small businesses can beat their larger rivals. Would love to hear your expert opinion on that – http://www.smallbizviewpoints.com/2011/11/16/how-can-you-beat-the-larger-rivals-at-their-own-game/

    1. Thanks for commenting, Harry. Glad you agree!

      Love your post. Especially: “You cannot win the game by mimicking what your larger rivals are doing and trying to outdo them.”

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