It does not matter if you are a big company, a medium sized company or a small company – the faltering economy is impacting every business in some manner. However, recent articles and a few conversations with small business owners have pointed out that the economy is also creating great opportunities for small businesses.
Consider this story.
In the midst of this economy, Passlogix, a privately owned software development company, just received over a million dollars in prepaid commitments for the next three to five years of service. In the process they beat out several much larger more established companies, like CA (14,000 employees) and IBM (400,000 employees), to win those customers.
Even more interesting than the story is the fact that it was told by Peter Bregman in his blog Why Small Companies Will Win in This Economy, written for Harvard Business. One of the common concerns over doing business with a small business is “will this tiny business be my partner in the long haul?” What Mr. Bregman and other business leaders are seeing is that in this economy it is more likely that the small or mid-sized business will be around for the long haul than it is with the big impersonal business.
The tradition of relying on the “security” of big companies is fading as AIG, Lehman, Citibank, GM, Chrysler and many more big companies fade. With a small business, a customer can call up and speak to the president. That was a key selling point for Passlogix in the business that they won.
When dealing with a small company, the customer can have a personal relationship and gain trust in everybody all the way from the President on down to the line staff. And those staff are likely to be there!
A little over a decade ago I purchased a CRM package from Oncontact, a mid-sized firm. In my near decade long experience as a customer of Oncontact, I worked with 2 sales representatives and 2 account managers. That’s it – that’s how stable the company was.
During that same period of time I was constantly contacted by sales reps from the big CRM firms and each time I got a call it was from the “new” representative just assigned to our account. Now compare that to Passlogix, whose clients know they can pick up the phone and speak with CEO Marc Boroditsky. He tells clients about his commitment to the company and to them, and they know exactly who to call if the work isn’t done to their expectations.
That personal relationship, that trust, is important to them. People are losing trust in big business and renewing trust with the bastion of the American economy – the small business. I keep hearing this line from Bregman’s blog over and over – “Small is the new big. Sustainable is the new growth. Trust is the new competitive advantage.”
This is the time for you, as a small business, to reach for the stars and take advantage of this opportune time. In 2007 you might not have even bothered to make a proposal for that project that you “knew” would go to one of the “big firms.” However, in 2009 it is time to step up and present your small, trustworthy and stable business to the world as you grab new and well-deserved business opportunities.
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