No offence to my colleagues working at big businesses, but my small business is way, way better.
Small business owners are told to get bigger all the time. We hear terms like ‘scaling’ and ‘venture capital’ and ‘management layer’ and begin to think that bigger must be better. We watch shows like Shark Tank and think, gee—maybe I need to take on an investor and expand.
But I believe being small is actually advantageous. Here's why.
Small businesses are nimble
Bureaucracy can take over bigger businesses. And that slows down an organization’s marketplace responsiveness.
In a big business, decisions are formed by department or committee or passed up management levels and that can take forever and a day.
Without a cumbersome administration, a small business owner can move quickly to take advantage of opportunities. And, when one strategy isn’t working, it’s easy for a small business to pivot to try a new one.
I could wake up tomorrow, decide to ditch the content business, and sell potpourri.
Being able to react quickly to change is a tremendous advantage for a small business—and often necessary for survival.
Small businesses owners enjoy fewer headaches
There are simply less moving parts to a small business than a big one.
Budgets are smaller and less complicated. Customers are more likely to be nearby than faraway. And there’s probably only one shareholder to please: you!
Achieving ‘scale’ usually involves a lot more people, a lot more money, and major commitments. A business owner may prefer to keep things as simple as possible by keeping their company operations small.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Small businesses can specialize
Being all things to all customers is better suited for large companies with the resources and the brand recognition to diversify—like Walmart.
As a result, there’s pressure on big companies to get good at doing a whole bunch of different things and to know a little about a lot.
With our smaller overheads and financial burdens, a small business can choose to focus on a particular type of customer or a particular product or service. For example, a bookkeeping service for independent truck drivers, or selling Dungeons & Dragons accessories. Or potpourri.
The owner of a small business can thrive by doing one thing very well; and, hopefully, that one thing is a passion of theirs.
Plenty of small and micro businesses out there
Despite the attention big businesses seem to capture, it’s important to know that most businesses are small.
A staggering 98% of all businesses in Canada (99% in the U.S.) are small businesses, with fewer than 100 employees. These small businesses employ the majority of the workforce and create way more new jobs than big companies.
If you own a small business right now (or plan to open one), don't succumb to the pressure to get bigger. You can be perfectly happy just the way you are.
[Image courtesy of Flickr]