Small is better – right?
Being part of a small business has some amazing benefits, like being part of a close-knit team working together in a way that bigger companies just can’t achieve, no matter how hard they may try. But there can also be some potential pitfalls or areas of concern, such as – how shall we put it – a fear that simply because there are larger corporations out there, that automatically makes you worse off. That’s simply not true.
In fact, we’d argue that punching above your weight in the business world is a great thing, an absolute necessity that you can handle with so long as you do so with confidence. So long as you remember that the product or service you’re providing is just as good, if not better, than anything big businesses are putting out there. After all, the underdog spirit can certainly help breed that competitive edge so vital in business.
So how do small businesses duke it out with bigger companies and win those all-important profitable contracts?
Bigger isn’t always better – and that’s an important point, first of all.
There are many great bonuses to choosing a smaller company, and that needs to be made clear to any corporate prospect from the get-go. Clear their minds of doubt over your ability to do the job, and highlight the benefits – not simply the features – of doing business with you. You need to set yourself apart from the competition, rather than wholly emulating them.
Big companies simply can’t provide that crucial personal touch. Your prospects want to feel valued, just as everyone does. They don’t want to be a number on a spreadsheet or a name on a database. They want to be recognised, understood as a business, and treated with a level of respect only small businesses can offer. Business is based on creating and building relationships; this is the real beauty of working with SMEs.
Speed of response
Another issue that many bigger companies have is that they simply aren’t reactive enough. There are boxes to tick, forms to fill, and that’s only going to hinder any work to be done. Small businesses are much more fluid in their approach. That’s not to say there aren’t processes to follow, or that it’s a slapdash operation, but that small companies are superior at streamlining and actioning the work that needs doing.
Beat misconceptions and preconceptions
Now let’s consider the misconceptions and preconceptions that some prospects will have about dealing with small businesses – and more to the point, how to change those ideas. Many might think that small businesses are small-fry, that they’re amateurs not experts. Prove them wrong. Do your research prior to a pitch. Then research that company some more. Then research even more. And then research… True, this might sound like overkill, but not only do you need to know the ins and out of the company you’re pitching to, and the products they provide, but you need to know more than any other company they’re going to see.
Be the professional – look the part
Your corporate prospect may also wonder about your professionalism. It’s a shame, but it’s true. Put paid to that long before you’ve even stepped through the door. In the digital age, you need a great website with a sound URL and a company-specific email address. Hotmail and Gmail addresses simply don’t cut it in the business world. Build upon this, and market yourself just as aggressively as the big boys do. Show you’re a professional organisation who can deliver.
Small businesses are equal to those larger than they are – and having the confidence to get that across is imperative to winning contracts from more lucrative clients. Start punching above your weight from day one, and you’ll reap the rewards.
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