What Small Business Can Teach Big Business

What Small Business Can Teach Big Business
What Small Business Can Teach Big Business
Hattie James, MBA

Hattie James, MBA

Hattie is a writer and researcher living in Boise, Idaho. She has a varied background, including education and sports journalism. She is a former electronic content manager and analyst for a government agency. She recently completed her MBA and enjoys local ciders.
Hattie James, MBA

@hejames1008

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Hattie James, MBA

Small business can teach big business

Small businesses often look to their larger counterparts for both inspiration and education.  Big businesses can be great examples of building a brand, hiring talent, or staying afloat during the tough times.

Take a look at four big business brands and their logos.  They focus on what makes each business unique in its market, from a persona to a core business concept.

Yet small businesses and their owners offer a wealth of habits and characteristics that can benefit larger organizations.  Let’s consider the cases of these three small businesses and what they can teach big business:

Finding a Niche

A bookshop owned by Ed and Tina Hoffman has created its own niche in the rare and used book market by focusing on the collections of specific book lovers, like its “Paul North Collection.”  This collection encompassed more than 80,000 rare books and pamphlets from a renowned bookseller.

By starting with something as small as a niche book collection, the Hoffmans’ business has grown into an online buyer and seller of rare and used books.  This also helps them maintain a healthy inventory, a key to success no matter the size of the business.

Small businesses regularly target a gap in a market.  The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who see business as a puzzle and their products or services as the missing piece.  Sometimes this missing piece is obvious to others; sometimes, it’s the piece no one knew was missing until it’s found.

Personalized Service

Michelle Ferguson, owner of the Purple Door boutiques in Texas, focuses on customer service.  It’s only natural, as the boutique sells clothing that could, in theory, be found at other stores.  Ferguson’s business partner notes this, saying:

“We know that women have a lot of choices in where they choose to shop. Our goal is that when they leave The Purple Door, they feel beautiful and confident.  We want each of our customers to feel their experience shopping at the Purple Door is personal and they can expect the same great customer service and value every time.”

Big businesses can’t offer this kind of up-close-and-personal experience, but they can certainly try.  It can be as simple as a highly-responsive chat service.  Properly implementing this service goes above and beyond managing customer complaints.  It’s also about working with customers who simply need help answering questions, such as where to find an Amazon subscription charge.

Not Sweating the Small Stuff

Many small business owners get the entrepreneurial bug because they are good at seeing and managing details.  Yet focusing on details, especially ones that can’t be controlled, can lead to increased stress in an already stressful situation.

Chef and restauranteur Brannon Florie learned that the hard way.  After years of building his network of restaurants, he suffered a heart attack.  Just 34 years old at the time, the incident made Florie take a step back and look at how he was managing his time.

Like many a business owner before him, Florie wasn’t paying attention to the physical effects of stress.  These were being heightened by his desire to manage all aspects of his ventures, something all business owners are guilty of one time or another.

Even large corporations’ leadership can become too focused on minutiae, which trickles down to other managers and then to employees.  No organization should sweat the small stuff so much so that it stressed out its entire staff.

Practicing what small businesses preach, as it were, can help big businesses do many things.  They can increase earnings, foster better employee engagement, and build customer loyalty.  Look to these small business owners for great examples.

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