Can good things come in small enterprises?

By 5 pm this small business has hundreds of customers coming for the Barramundi.

 

Big is not necessarily beautiful when it comes to personal service.

Premises might be small and old but there is usually an active heart beating inside every small business, particularly when they have something special to offer like this small Pub in the outback.

Big companies and governments often have bureaucratic inefficiencies. They waste time, have unpredictable approaches and suffer ineffective execution. What a wonderful opportunity for small organisations to create a competitive advantage.

When small businesses dream, they usually dream of becoming a bigger business. and when you think about it, nearly every big business began as a small business. The question to ask, “was it worth it”? The trick is to be the best at what you do, not the biggest.

 

“Be proud that you are a small business as you can make the best of both worlds, if you are agile enough to adapt to the changing marketplace”. Peter Sergeant

 

A bigger business doesn’t always equate to a better business. At some point, big becomes bad. Big becomes a matter of being convenient rather than being unique. Big becomes a game of market share, not customer care, and big becomes ubiquitous. And you don’t have to look far to see examples.  Where has the expert knowledge gone?

It seems that by the time a small business becomes big, it’s time for it to act small again. Again we see many examples of this with big corporations trying to give quality personal service. Don’t you get sick of dealing with big companies that keep changing their systems and the people who are supposed to know you and be providing the services they aggressively promote?

Small has its advantages

Small businesses have a distinct advantage when it comes to developing and executing strategic plans. Even though working with a small team can be a trial, particularly when a product or service is complex, it always seems to be more fun.

Small teams, constrained by capacity, can be severely tested when tackling larger problems or executing plans with many moving parts.

But working with small teams is rewarding, and extremely effective when done well. The challenge is to find ways to increase the small business’s productivity, encourage individual ownership and unleash creativity through a collaborative process.

One of the greatest advantages of a small business is the intimacy that is created. Strong bonds develop quickly when working closely together. There is a minimal hierarchy, open communication, transparency and a more collaborative approach to identifying problems and crafting solutions.

It is incumbent on the owners of a small team to create an environment where the stakeholders feel confident in their abilities, secure in their positions and they are willing to contribute their ideas. It becomes an environment where individuals and great talent can thrive.

Every business will approach the process differently and every owner will flavour the process with their own distinct style. However, even in a small business, there are common elements necessary for the ongoing success against bigger competitors and ‘sponge’ cities.

One of the huge benefits a small business has is its ability to change quickly, duck, weave, and pivot in order to better meet customer problems, frustrations wants and needs.  Small can be your competitive advantage, so utilise your team’s agility, adaptability and flexibility to advantage.

Another big advantage of a small business is that you can make decisions much more quickly. You have the ability to adjust course as needed, tweak, or even discontinue specific actions and alter your approach on the fly.  Big organisations, on the other hand, have to have meetings on meeting over extended periods of time, just to make simple decisions.

Small business can be risky, but so are many big corporations and governments. In a small business, you can fail fast, recover fast and move forward fast.

 

 

[read more=”Personal Experience” less=”Personal Experience”]

Personal Experience:

I started my business career working for a big company. Even though I really enjoyed the work and the people, I didn’t last long as I couldn’t wait for someone to die before I was promoted.

Today I see more opportunities for small business and non-profits than ever before, a new era for small businesses is upon us.

“Planning is an unusual process. It is much more fun to do something else. The nice thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression”. Sir John Harvey

Smaller communities can benefit from this because of the new inexpensive cloud technologies that are available. However, I believe they must stop trying to attract bigger businesses and focus on growing the people and the business already in existence. Attracting bug businesses is a poor, but expensive strategy.

Things to focus on

  • Start with a vision –Working on your vision together then drilling into the customer specifics allows for better collaboration and for more creative approaches. Most will want to be concerned about their customers as they are the backbone of the business. Some even involve a customer or two in their planning process with greater success. Developing better new products, services and approaches usually follow.
  • Set meaningful objectives with appropriate strategies and actions – With clearly defined objectives, strategies and actions, the chances of success become greatest, particularly when the team develops them together. By allowing the team to collaborate in planning you are allowing them to own the eventual actions. It is that ownership that will favour the smaller business, to the point of being unbeatable.
  • Action orientation – Execution is a key and the big advantage of a small business is they can take action quickly because they are at the ‘coal face’. Divide the work, distribute the tasks, delegate the responsibility and you will see the efficiency of the small team at work. Everyone quickly becomes excited about making their plans come to life. When each team member has a concise understanding of their own deliverables and expectations are properly set, you will be amazed at the speed at which things start to happen.
  • Monitor and review your strategies –Wrong strategies lead to wrong outcomes. Be sure to build in measurement so everyone can understand the progress they and the business are making.

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