I'm talking about business. In a previous post I wrote that one of the reasons why small consulting groups and teams will continue to have a competitive advantage over large conglomerates is you get to talk to and work with the principals: there are no second teams. Lewis Green at businesssolutionsplus pointed out in a comment to my statement:
While I agree that small business has the capability and ability to be more responsive to their clients' and customers' needs, giving us what should be a competitive edge, I still see mid-sized and large businesses choosing mid-sized and large vendors over small.
Perhaps it's because I'm on the East Coast, where big often is perceived as better. On the other hand, I think people shop from those they understand, and big understands big.
My response to that: That's very interesting. I've worked in large and mid-size corporations and had no problem hiring small businesses to partner with us. Perhaps more than an issue of capability, it is a perception of capacity: does this business have the bandwidth to handle our workflow?
The other thought that this prompts is the convenience that a larger vendor or agency brings -- less work for the person inside the corporation. When resources in companies have become scarce to come by, and the marketing budgets continue to trend downward, it is instinctive to think that putting all your eggs in one basket with a capable and like-sized vendor is more efficient.
I have found exactly the opposite to be true. When I look to outsource part of the work in my department, I look for specialized assistance in a partner, sometimes the smaller the better. It might mean more project management work on my part, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. It definitely doesn't mean higher costs. In fact, it almost always means a more efficient use of resources.
I'd be interested in opening up the conversation. What do you think? And if you are a small business owner, what is your take on working with mid sized and large companies? I'd be honored if the partners who work with me found the time to leave a comment as well.
[t-shirt from FirenzeGifts.com: Life is Beautiful]