I’ve worked with many companies, large and small. It’s easier to work with large companies because they understand the importance of marketing. However, it’s more fun working with smaller companies because they haven’t been plagued by the corporate mindset and there’s so much opportunity for growth. They have new ideas they’re able to act on… and an energy that is absent in most large companies.
The drawback? Smaller companies usually don’t understand the HUGE advantage they have over their larger counterparts… yet they like to appear larger than they are.
You should never do that! Ever!
Embrace your smallness. Enjoy the freedom you have and the ability to move with precision. You’re able to take risks and uncover new truths. You have the freedom to fail and learn, and recover, and grow faster and smarter than big organizations.
A few days ago I was in a meeting with a small company right on the cusps of breaking big… It’s soon to be a $100 million dollar company. Why? Because larger companies in their industry don’t have the ability to move as quickly and swiftly as they are. We’re leveraging the newest technology and creating our own trends, while larger companies are stuck and too big to move.
Think of Tesla. They build cars faster than any of the larger auto makers… That used to be Toyota back in the day. While large companies had their cars running down assembly lines, Toyota built them one by one. So if there was ever a problem in production, the issue could be resolved quickly. But for larger organizations, production would be delayed for months.
Think of Local Motors, a Cincinnati, Ohio company that prints 3D cars in 24 hours. They’re small. They can model a car in 3 months and produce it in a day. But large automakers take years to design a car and years to get it to market. The large company has the money, but the smaller company has the innovation. The best thing the large company can do is buy out the smaller company to avoid being swallowed up by their momentum and zeal. And this is what usually happens. A large company will buy out a smaller one in order to contain it to ensure its own survival… Therefore, the smaller companies new ideas never make it to the broader market.
But organizations like Netflix and Facebook refused to sell when they were tots. Had Netflix sold to Blockbuster we’d still be buying DVD’s. Had Facebook sold to Yahoo, well… Tumblr? Yea, growth is down and it will keep going down until it fizzles out. While Facebook is up and keeps going up, I don’t think there will be an opportunity to compete for a while. SnapChat didn’t try, but for not selling to Facebook, Mark Z and Co. decided to compete using Instagram, and Snap is slowly fading away.
What does this mean for you as a small organization?
Stay small until you have no choice but to go big. You don’t want companies to see you as a threat like Facebook saw Snap… This is scary for big orgs, they will either try to buy you out or use their power and resources to swallow you up. I’m not sure you will want that fight… so as my friend Irina likes to say, “Make some goals and be quiet about it.”
You have the advantage. You can explore new technology, master it and grow your business. Large companies can’t do that. They move too slow. You can do crazy exciting things. You can afford to fail, no one will punish you for it. It’s actually great to take risk early to create new paths for success.
If you talk big and walk big you have a greater chance of falling big and going out of business fast… That image is hard to maintain if you really don’t have the resources. People will hold you to a higher standard taking away your freedom to grow.
So stay humble, make ugly ads, promote your dysfunctional website, have fun not being perfect… It will make for a much better success story. Otherwise there may not be any story to tell.