An age-old question: does size matter? Many potential customers are lured by the big brand businesses with offices around the globe. But when it comes to manufacturers that aren’t yet global Goliaths, what sets them apart? And the most important question is what makes them stand out in the market?
It’s a question that we ask ourselves here at QTS Ltd back in 2011. At this time, we felt our mesh handling products were among the best in the market. So, what would set us apart from the bigger companies in the world? The answer was simple and somewhat obvious, it was our size!
If the competition is larger, they will have a lot of advantages that we won’t due to the scale size. So, we choose not to compete on those levels. We understood we can be better and stronger in ways they couldn’t. Our ability to adapt to customer request and our ability to offer a more personalised business relationship with our customers.
Working With Friends AKA The Advantages of a Small Company Culture
We found out that big companies have big problems and that is … well, they are big!
It’s fair to say you would have dealt with big companies, from a customer point of view. And for example, there is an issue you’re trying to solve over the phone, you can start to feel a little lost in the system, especially if you’re passed to numerous departments. If you’re like me you can come away feeling frustrated and a little concerned that nothing will happen.
On a day to day basis, I listen to the office to the phone calls between our account managers and our customers to know there is more going on than just selling. Our account managers act as their customer’s safety net, and technical advisors by asking questions that their customers may not have considered. They care that the project is a success, and this is experienced by the customers. It’s also why your customers trust us to deliver.
In an article appearing in the ‘The Wall Street Journal’, Henry Elkus who is the Chief operating officer and the director of Philanthropy at Unlimited Ltd. Clothing and explains why he feels that being big is not always the best.
“Outperform in areas where flexibility and agility are advantageous. An enormous drawback of larger businesses is their size in and of themselves. Zara’s incredible success is due in large part to the fact that they perform like a small business – swiftly producing products to capitalize on trends and removing that product if that trend is underperforming. Most other large businesses aren’t so skilled.
A well-turned small business can easily outperform its larger counterparts in customer service, trend identification, product output and quantity control. I always found joy in writing a personal letter to our customers, dealing with charities in person, and listening to the youth demographic from my own perspective.
Giant apparel companies spend millions of dollars on R&D to discover the latest trends that are started by boutique clothing businesses. If they decide to produce a product, it must go through far more middlemen than we do here. If a product flops it means they are then stuck with colossal quantities of useless stock. My advice is to find the niche that you are most comfortable in, and don’t be afraid to compete with the big boys in areas where you have an advantage.
Starbucks serves coffee but sells the community. Apple makes phones and iPad but sells fashion and design. What do your customers want from you? When you define your offering, you can decide how to compete.
Your customer base is the most important asset that you have. When a bigger business moves into your space, it is even more important to understand your clientele, know who they are and what they need from you. Whether it’s larger, louder presence has hit your marker or not, in these busy times it is essential to stay in touch with your clients to keep them aware of your products and service that is being offered.
Smaller businesses are often nimbler, and faster to jump on trends and in closer touch with customers needs and wants to be compared to them, large competitors. While we indie cannot compete on price, the relationships that we built without customers, the service we offer and the careful selection of offerings, keep us here in business.
Whatever the size of your business, make sure you always think of your customers first! Make their experience with your business as fabulous as it can be, and they won’t want to leave.