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David:

Aside from an issue of capacity and capability, I think you focus the conversation on the very important point of speaking the same language. Large organizations feel understood by peers -- it may be a matter of bureaucratic practices that everyone knows need to be gotten through (approval levels included).

And yes, brands have something to do with it. Some advice for smaller business along those lines is: establish your brand as the best at something. You suggest thinking and results.

I've worked at small, mid-size and large p.r. agencies before starting my own small agency 16 years ago.

It's true that large often wants large. The last job I had before starting on my own was at a large agency where I ran the McDonald's business. I did a good job for Mickey D and they liked me. I was given the opportunity to pitch their business about a year after I went on my own and they had fired the old agency. But a friend on the inside warned me that they really wanted a giant agency, which is where they ended up. They ended up changing agencies again within about 2 years, as I recall -- again, to a big agency. They're a giant, and they feel it's a reflection on their image that they must have big companies serving them.

But I've also been successful selling to large clients by assuring them they'll have the personal involvement of experienced pros, rather than low-level trainees. The smarter ones understand that.

It can be very frustrating, because I've seen from the inside how large agencies are good at racking up huge fees, giving razzle-dazzle but not always the best in thinking and results.

Choonghor -- what about using your blog to allow people to sample your thinking and the thinking of your small business? Many others have reported on positive results from building credibility over this medium. Speed is relative. What problems are you solving? There are trade offs too: is accuracy important, for example.

Lewis -- Thank you for igniting a spark that really got some meaningful dialogue going. I'd be interested in continuing the conversation over at businesssolutionsplus or here with you over time. As more people start their business, often sole proprietorships, the answer to this question continues to evolve. Maybe the answer is in partnerships?

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