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Friday, November 28, 2014

Give big businesses a run for their money: What small business owners can do

Small business management tips
Small businesses have added value that multinational corporations do not
By Jordan Greer

I don’t get it when people talk about small businesses like they’re insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Like if you own a small business then you’re not a part of the same industry as the one populated by multinationals and big corporations that trade in millions of dollars every day. What they seem to be forgetting is that most (if not all) businesses that are big and successful today started off as small businesses in the beginning. A business is a business, and shouldn’t be derided or applauded by its volume; instead judge it on how much of a profit it makes when compared to the running cost and the investment. This figure is the true judge of how well or badly a business is doing.

Today, the breach between a small business and a big business isn’t even that wide. The lines are beginning to blur and both these worlds are converging in a big way. A lot of multinational corporations or MNCs rely on small businesses for components, parts, and services that help with the production process or the core product development that they churn out for public consumption. A lot of customers also prefer to buy from small businesses when compared to large MNCs because of that little customizability and that personal touch that comes from products made by a small business.

It’s not easy holding your own against a billion dollar firm, but more and more people are doing it today, and I’m about to give you some pointers that most business owners will be able to take on, regardless of the product or service they’re selling.

Tips to taking your small business to the next level:
  • Risk-taking: A lot of the world’s biggest businessmen talk about risk taking and how it’s one of the most important factors in making it big. As long as you are convinced that your decision will bring financial reward, and your gut says it’s the right way to go, don’t hesitate. Hesitation is worst reaction ever, and doesn’t help at all. If you think the risk is worth the gain, just do it, and if after weighing the pros and cons you think it’s too much of a long shot, don’t do it but stick to your guns.
  • Web-slinger: No, I don’t mean that you should become Spider-man, what I’m trying to say is that the internet is the biggest, most cost effective resource you could find to help expand your business. Harness this tool and it won’t ever stop giving. Market your product or service on social media, take orders online, and use e-mail as a method of contacting prospective consumers and providing after sales services. With the internet, the world really is your oyster, and your business can be the pearl that’s just waiting to shine.
  • Self-evaluation: As an owner of a small business, you need to be your own toughest critic. This means taking decisions with the best interest of your business in mind, and nothing else. This is because what is in your business’ best interest, will eventually also be in your best interest. This means not letting your emotion or personal feelings cloud your judgment, e.g. you hire someone for an entry level position based on his or her educational qualifications, background, and how they performed in your interview, and not just because the individual in question is your sister’s son. Sure you want to look after your family but a workforce is only as strong as its weakest link, and you can’t let sentiment affect your business.
  • Take credit: Don’t take a huge bow every time you get a compliment, because that isn’t what I’m getting at. I’m talking about accepting credit cards, and if you don’t accept credit cards yet, you need to start right now. No, seriously right now – open up a new tab, go to a merchant account services website, and apply for one. Some of these services like creditcardprocessing.com can even have the whole thing set up in 24 hours! Having an extra avenue for generating sales is very important today, particularly credit cards. Everywhere you look people are moving towards plastic money, don’t get left behind.
  • Reinvent: Always look to gain the edge over your competition, even if it seems like everything that can be done in terms of innovation for your product, has been done, there’s always room for more. If you look for creative solutions and encourage your workforce to do so as well, you’ll always bring something new and fresh to the table, and that’s what we all want isn’t it? Something new and fresh!
Remember, don’t let the big fish in the sea bring you down, you can go head to head with them and come out on top as long as you have the will and strength to do so. They’re restricted by that very size of theirs, because they have less room to wiggle. Use it to your advantage, and tweak your product you’re entirely satisfied with it, and you’ll get ahead in the race.

Image: Vector Open Stock,  "Image of board room presentation", CC BY-SA 3.0