The Secret Advantage All Small Businesses Have


As a small business owner/manager/exec, do you wake up with cold sweats, worried about the fact that in order for your company to grow and thrive, you will have to challenge a big company?

Your 10-person company, which is filled with smart people who are dedicated to a common vision, visited by a loyal customer base and beholden to a track record of going the extra mile, is growing slowly but surely. You've got everything a small business owner could want.

But you're at a crossroads. You could stay small or niche or boutique and do everything you can keep these good times rolling. But you know that's impossible. Your staff likes raises and promotions. Your customers are fickle, looking out for a new idea or new product. Rent goes up. Markets shift. New competition pops up. Where are your good times, now?

So you look to grow. As a smart business manager, you are confident that you can scale your smart staff and processes to double or triple in size quickly. But what really scares you is the idea of growing enough that the big companies become aware of you.

They can lower their margins to almost nothing if they need to. They can offer benefits to your employees you can't. They have resources to woo customers. That's what you're scared of.

But the advantage your small business has, whether its obvious or not, is you aren't a big company. No matter how smart and threatening you may be to a big company, you are nothing compared another department within that company. Those big companies are at war with themselves, and you are a pest at best.

They spend their time branding axes against HR, accounts, development and every other department over perceived slights from years ago. You are serving the customer while your competition seethes over what his boss said at the holiday party in 2009. How could you hope to make it onto their radar? Because of this internal infighting, you are smarter and more agile and more responsive to customer needs.

When your enemies are busy destroying each other, don't get in their way. This is your time to act, small business. Take over their territory and customers while they fight each other for the customers left over.

 James Ellis is a Chicago-area digital strategist with Google Analytics certification. That said, he still wonders if he would have made it as a hand model. You can get in touch with James at to tell him how many ways he's wrong.

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