Size Does Matter – 7 Reasons to Stay Small

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This article outlines several reasons why staying small can benefit not only the business itself, but also its customers. Smaller businesses have more efficient communication, higher quality service, active CEOs, quicker reaction time, greater income, greater project variety, and lower operating costs. A smaller size allows businesses to research and build relationships with customers without interfering with the efficiency of the business.

For the most part, when I tell a client that our small, successful branding and design firm has no plans to become a large firm with several branches, the response has been one of surprise and disbelief.

As I watch their eyes glaze over, I do empathize with them. After all, as business owners we’ve all felt the pressure to stand out from the crowd of ever-increasing competition, and one of the ways we’ve been taught to do this is through increased revenue and more employees.

We’ve all been taught that bigger is better. But for those of you that are on the fence about whether your business should stay small, or whether it should take that giant leap forward towards global dominance, a bigger storefront, and possibly being deeper in debt, here are a few reasons why our firm decided that for us, smaller is better.

1. Quick response time

For one thing, our clients have told us that they appreciate the level of responsiveness a small firm can deliver. Our business is able to operate with just one level of leadership. This single degree of separation means that communication between us and our clients is efficient and non-repetitive. Being able to deal with the principal persons involved tends to greatly reduce wasted energy for all parties working on a project.

2. The smaller project goes to the new guy

Having their project handled by a junior consultant or designer just because the clients’ smaller budget didn’t justify someone more experienced is another complaint we hear from clients of larger firms. This scenario unfortunately takes place more often than not, and often leads to problems that vary from the incorrect sizing of images, to the wrong information being communicated, and even bad design layouts or poorly planned strategies. These are unnecessary obstacles to a successful project, and will wreak havoc on brand confidence. In smaller businesses, people follow through — they don’t pass off the work to more junior employees, because there aren’t any.

3. Having more control

Being small also allows me to be more involved with my firm’s business: from the press releases, to brand development, to industry research, to the handling of a specific project, to writing articles. Working in a smaller business also means that the client doesn’t have to fight with so many layers of approval for tasks large and small. The late night revisions are easier to bear.

4. Planning ahead

Our firm believes in being proactive, which is to say that we strive to anticipate problems in a project before they arise. If an unforeseen problem is able to slip by, being smaller allows us to react quickly. More time is also available for research and meeting with the clients. The ability to be constantly available is a greatly appreciated asset that our firm is able to offer all our clients because we are smaller.

5. Smaller is not poorer

Being smaller doesn’t mean we’re poorer. Because we are able to react quickly to problems, we have more time for research, brainstorming, and planning; that we’re capable of meetings with clients more often, and are willing to work through several revisions. As a result, it’s also very easy for us to be able to demonstrate what we’re worth. This often equates to being paid well, and just as important (if not more), means being paid on time.

6. Variety is the spice of life

Being able to work on a variety of projects is another perk to working in a small firm. The ability to be more selective among clients, and to choose between the projects they have to offer, as opposed to having to accept work simply because of its price tag, entails a level of freedom that working in a larger firm does not. As a result, you never know what you’ll be working on next. Getting “burned out” because your business does the same type of projects from season to season because they’re “bread and butter” clients, can be extremely taxing to a business’ creative process.

7. I get to play

With fewer staff comes a lower overhead. A lower overhead means more money for our firm to keep up with current technology, help develop best practices within our industry, stay in touch with past and current clients, and best of all, pay ourselves more.

My last point is simple. As a fellow designer once said: “because I work for a small design firm, I actually get to design”.

Frequently Asked Questions about Staying Small in Business

What are the benefits of staying small in business?

Staying small in business has several benefits. Firstly, it allows for greater flexibility and adaptability. Small businesses can quickly pivot and adapt to changes in the market, customer preferences, or technology. Secondly, small businesses often have a closer relationship with their customers, which can lead to better customer service and loyalty. Thirdly, small businesses have less bureaucracy and red tape, which can lead to faster decision-making and innovation. Lastly, staying small can also lead to lower overhead costs and potentially higher profit margins.

How can a small business compete with larger competitors?

Small businesses can compete with larger competitors in several ways. They can differentiate themselves by offering unique products or services, providing superior customer service, or focusing on a specific niche market. They can also leverage their flexibility and adaptability to quickly respond to changes in the market or customer preferences. Additionally, small businesses can use technology and digital marketing strategies to reach a wider audience and compete on a larger scale.

What are the challenges of staying small in business?

While there are many benefits to staying small in business, there are also challenges. These can include limited resources, difficulty in scaling, and increased vulnerability to market fluctuations and economic downturns. Small businesses may also face challenges in attracting and retaining top talent, as they may not be able to offer the same level of compensation or career advancement opportunities as larger companies.

How can a small business overcome these challenges?

Small businesses can overcome these challenges in several ways. They can leverage technology to increase efficiency and productivity, seek out partnerships or collaborations to expand their resources, and focus on building a strong brand and customer loyalty. They can also invest in their employees, providing training and development opportunities to attract and retain top talent.

Why is it important for small businesses to be vigilant about security?

Security is crucial for all businesses, regardless of size. Small businesses can be particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks, as they may not have the same level of security measures in place as larger companies. A security breach can have devastating consequences, including financial loss, damage to reputation, and loss of customer trust. Therefore, it’s essential for small businesses to invest in robust security measures and educate their employees about best practices for data protection.

How can a small business stay small and still grow?

Staying small doesn’t necessarily mean not growing. Businesses can grow in terms of revenue, customer base, and market share without significantly increasing their size or overhead costs. This can be achieved through strategies such as improving operational efficiency, expanding into new markets or product lines, and leveraging technology and digital marketing.

What are some examples of successful small businesses?

There are many examples of small businesses that have achieved significant success. These include companies like Basecamp, a project management software company that has remained intentionally small while serving millions of customers worldwide, and Patagonia, an outdoor clothing company that has maintained a small-business feel while becoming a global brand.

How can a small business maintain its culture while growing?

Maintaining culture while growing can be a challenge for small businesses. However, it can be achieved by clearly defining the company’s values and mission, and ensuring that these are communicated and embodied at all levels of the organization. Regular communication, team-building activities, and employee recognition can also help to maintain a strong and positive company culture.

How can a small business leverage technology to stay competitive?

Technology can be a powerful tool for small businesses. It can help to increase efficiency and productivity, improve customer service, and reach a wider audience. For example, small businesses can use digital marketing strategies to promote their products or services, e-commerce platforms to sell online, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems to manage customer interactions.

What is the future of small businesses?

The future of small businesses looks promising. With the rise of technology and digital platforms, small businesses have more opportunities than ever to reach a global audience and compete with larger companies. Additionally, consumers are increasingly seeking out unique, local, and sustainable products and services, which small businesses are well-positioned to provide. However, small businesses will need to continue to adapt and innovate in order to stay competitive in the changing business landscape.

John BloiseJohn Bloise
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John is the President/CEO for Digital Architectures, Inc., an international strategic branding and design firm headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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