Small Business Can Beat Big Business
March 23, 2017
I often hear business owners complain about how large businesses and multinationals are threatening them. They claim the big boys have more resources and are out to steamroller any small businesses they come across.
In contrast I also come across small businesses that don’t worry about the big boys and face up to the monolithic organisations and win.
This is the story of one small business that no longer worries so much about the competition. They have become flexible and agile and compete internationally. Their story is one I know because I have played a small part in it. It is one that any small business can emulate. A real David and Goliath story.
Way back when I started my current business Jeanette Adams and I came across one another. I think it came about when she searched for marketing help online, but as it was 10+ years ago it is now in the mists of time. But however it happened we subsequently worked together.
Jeanette is based in Melbourne, Australia and where she owns and runs a company called Holidays on Location. The holiday business is tough and the Internet has made it tougher. Today anyone can go online to sites like TripAdvisor, Trivago etc and book a flight, hotels, cars etc. When Jeanette and I first met it wasn’t as tough as today .. but that’s not to say it was easy. Businesses were going to the wall and Jeanette needed help.
An important part of the story here is that with 12,000 miles between our offices Jeanette and I never actually met face to face. We “met” online and by phone. I’ll come back to why that is important later.
Holidays on Location are based in Australia, but their holidays are on the other side of the world; mainly in in Europe plus some in Canada and Hawaii. We talked about the holidays they offered in Switzerland and Germany (both countries I know well), the UK and Ireland.
What became clear was that Jeanette and her team offered something the big boys didn’t offer. It was superb customer service, a passion for what they did and most of all, they clearly carried. The other thing I noticed was that Jeanette had a great team of people working with her. Contrast this with the big companies where employees are just a number and are there for the salary. Companies where no one really cares and no one knows your name. The contrast is huge.
So I worked on a marketing plan that would demonstrate the holidays and the care the staff took in ensuring customers had a perfect holiday. The marketing plan consisted of a lot of the things I was blogging about at the time. There was no rocket science in it. Just a well structured plan that suited Holidays on Location and their customers.
Jeanette was pleased and later wrote on LinkedIn “By following Stefan’s marketing plan to the letter I could never have imagined such a successful outcome for my business.”
So commitment to quality and customer service coupled with a tailored marketing plan was what allowed Jeanette and her business to prosper despite the fact she was a small fish in a big pond full of Goliaths.
Fast forward 10+ years.
Jeanette contacted me to say that the marketing lessons she had learnt from working with me were stil paying dividends. She told me how one of her key members of staff had handed in her notice with the plan to return to the UK. Losing key staff in a tightly knit team is always hard. This was a blow worse than Goliath could serve the business. At this stage Jeanette decided to take action. She remembered how we had worked together even though 12000 miles apart and suggested the member of staff and went to the UK but kept her job. She realised that distance wasn’t an issue. And after thinking for a while decided it might actually be a benefit.
With someone on the other side of the world the office opening hours would actually increase. It was easier to deal with European locations from Europe and any problems in Europe were easier to handle with someone in the UK.
The moral of this story is that the big fish don’t necessarily eat the small fry. Sometimes they prosper because they exploit their niche more successfully and are just a lot smarter and more agile in their thinking.
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