Small companies are known for being driven and ambitious. Dreams are big and hopes are high but the reality is much more brutal and fierce. SMB owners often discover that it is extremely difficult to compete with the big players.
Being a successful SMB owner could possibly be one of the most difficult jobs in the world. It’s a known fact that a vast majority of small companies and especially startups fail within the first couple of years.
Fortunately, SMB owners have one important thing working for them – myriad different sources of knowledge to draw from and learn. One of them is definitely big successful companies that have been around for some time.
So, what really can SMBs learn from big companies?
Your Brand Identity
The importance of Brand with a capital B immediately comes to the first place. As an owner of a small business, you need to think long and hard about your brand. Create a strong, authentic and credible brand visual identity that is not amazing only graphically, but strategically, too. You need a healthy culture and community built up around your product since, in the long run, they are the ones who keep coming back to your product many times over and also try to convince others to join in. Nurturing them will also pay off later when you save on future marketing costs.
Hire the Right People
Hiring the right people is a complex task. There is a reason why this is a whole new field of business. What stands at the core of every successful business is being able to hire the right people for the right positions. Huge corporations spend vast amounts of resources on this and small businesses should take this into consideration. You cannot rush this process as it is your team that will set you apart from the competition. Think the process through and avoid the mistake of hiring someone just because you liked them first hand and they share some of your cultural traits.
Treat Your Staff Well
You can easily lose perspective here. This is a thorn in the side of many large corporations that, let’s hope only in the past, practiced exploiting certain groups of people to produce their products at the lowest price possible. At the same time, “the essential and important staff” was getting a far better treatment. It is common knowledge that big companies give great bonuses and perks to encourage employees to do their best and contribute to the business.
However, for a small business, regardless of the number of employees, it is important to make staff feel heard, appreciated and treated correctly. This is at the very core of every business. Those workers know they are working for an SMB and it does get difficult so in order to keep them on board, make sure you treat everyone right.
Embrace the Change
Another important aspect of not only business but life, in general, is change. It is necessary and inevitable. However, it is not something to rush in head on. You need to be smart and tactical about changes. If it is too big and ambitious, it may push people away.
For example, if you want to introduce new software or tools to help employees do their daily job, do it slowly and carefully so it doesn’t disrupt the natural functioning of the company. Large companies can rely on well-established software release management and you will want to imitate this process as closely as possible as an SMB. This does not have to be in connection with software at all. The importance is on ensuring that changes are not too disruptive for the day-to-day functioning of your small business.
Be a Reliable Leader
Finally, we come to the management itself and to how the business is run. It can get emotional, especially for SMB owners whose livelihood depends on the success of the company. It is easy to get frustrated and to make the wrong moves but SMB owners cannot afford this. In large corporations, the people who make decisions are usually detached enough to base their decisions strictly on facts.
Also, try to make a positive impact. One of the best ways to make one’s company more appealing to the public is to show one’s commitment to making the world a better place. Large corporations do this with huge campaigns and charities that involve millions but SMBs can also do this for the local community and get great media exposure. The important thing is to get involved and show you care.