Should small business whine? This is how Seth Godin titled his very telling blog post this morning. No- they should not. Small businesses have every reason in the world to out preform any large company with a bit of common sense and a personal touch. When I remodeled my house, I tried to buy almost everything I could online, mainly from small businesses. In one stressful day the plumber came to install all the faucets and discovered we got the wrong part. He wanted a replacement by the end of the next day, so he can install it on time before he leaves to his summer vacation. I emailed the company I bought the item from (small business out of Louisiana) and few minutes later I got a tracking number for an next day air shipment of the right piece. No excuses, no whining- amazing service by one committed business. I ended up buying all other plumbing materials from them. Investing in personal customer service is your safest bet- you are either the boss or close to her, there is no bureaucracy and decisions can be made in minutes. In addition, you can use some of the rules I published last year that will help you appear large and professional. Look as professional as Amazon but with a better/faster/personal customer service can be your ultimate competitive weapon.
- Presence: save on coffee, dining out or anything else but don’t save on your public presence. Glossy product brochures and a shiny website are essential to look impressive (Seth Godin just published a useful guide on how to create a good enough website). Make sure you hire a good marketing agency (there are many small firms of young and smart guys that will make you look brilliant). This is one of the areas where quantity doesn’t count as much as quality. I know many people don’t think it is important–but trust me, it is as bad as coming to a sales meeting unshaved and in your DYI outfit.
- Use technology to appear bigger– Continue reading “Small is not an excuse”