It’s an excuse I have heard too often from small businesses. ‘it’s so much easier for the larger, more established businesses. As a small business, or a new business, we’re at such a disadvantage.’ Utter tosh, and here’s why.
As a small business, or a new business, it is not acceptable to blame problems, difficulties or challenges on the mere fact that the business is small, or new. Indeed, smallness and newness are very much advantages, or can be if you apply a little ingenuity, a little forward thinking and accept a little appreciation of the options available to you.
First of all, let’s consider the benefits a small business has over a large one. Yes, a small business really does have benefits compared to its much larger rivals. Think of a cruise ship and a speedboat driving at full speed at night. Up ahead is a large iceberg, although not easy to see until you’re up quite close.
The cruise ship spots it, and starts to veer to one side, although another iceberg is up ahead, meaning that regular adjustments need to be made. There’s an awful lot of frantic checking and calculating and steering and re-checking, and not a lot of very responsive changes in direction. Often it’s best to slow down a little, take stock and do things carefully step by step.
The nippy little motorboat however is able to adjust course very quickly, dodging obstacles and changing course rapidly to take advantage of new open pathways, and steering well away from any potential problems or dead ends.
You don’t need me to explain how that analogy works in terms of large and small businesses. But today with online technology and social media marketing new opportunities can open up with little or no warning, and it may take larger business very much longer to take advantage of those opportunities. Be on the lookout for opportunities and pounce on them in order to completely outmanoeuvre the bigger businesses.
What about newer businesses – do they have any advantage over more established ones? Yes, of course. Let me explain through another analogy. This time imagine a house that’s been standing for a couple of hundred years. Over time the land has shifted, the river has widened and the ground has become wetter. The old house is starting to creak and crack, and has had to be held together with metal poles, pushed up by metal struts and reinforced with buttresses.
On the other hand, consider the property being built on the same ground, but taking stock of the current conditions, and more aware of the likely direction the ground saturation will take in future. This house is built on raised stilts, and is fully capable of coping with the damp conditions.
Newer businesses are built within the context of present day opportunities and customer preferences. By developing businesses from the very early days within the context of the current climate it is possible to create a resilient, responsive and dynamic business presence which is not going to suffer under the weight of many years’ patching, fixing and adapting older businesses are having to cope with.
There are other excuses given by smaller or newer business too, including online businesses and even those who run their business entirely from home. I’ve heard excuses such as ‘it’s easier for more established or larger businesses because they have flashy business addresses, premises and offices,’ or, ‘larger businesses can afford to hire teams of telephone operators to answer the phones all day, whereas I have to do that as well as run my business,’ and even ‘larger more established businesses can afford accountants to do their bookkeeping, whereas we smaller businesses have to spend huge amounts of time trying to do it all internally.’
These excuses are by no means more than scratching the surface, but I utterly refute them all, as I do the very fact that a business is new, or small, or even both.
Even the most causal of searches online will reveal excellent virtual office service providers, offering very affordable and easily scalable business services such as a virtual office address, fully equipped meeting rooms as and when required, telephone answering services, mail handling services, invoicing and bookkeeping services and much, much more.
Being small or new is absolutely not an excuse for feeling that second place is the best that you can hope for. Grab the opportunities, overcome the challenges and steer a course through the inevitably interesting path ahead towards the success which will be richly deserved. All it takes is to stop making excuses and start taking the right action.