It always amazes me when a client tells me that they are not interested in doing business with small firms. While I can understand the prestige in wanting to land the big contract with the big budget, there is something to be said for working with the smaller firms. Large firms do indeed have the budget and clout to warrant the attention that they get but to be honest I´ve built a pretty successful practice on working with mostly the small guy. I often wonder when it became acceptable business practice to only target Fortune 400 companies as a profitable clientele base. If you are a small company, don´t you also want to go after other small companies? Why leave them out. Now please understand that I am not saying that it isn´t worth your time to land Clorox as an account. Far from it. A corporation like Clorox can make a company (as well as break it) into a powerhouse. The trick is to find a good balance between the two.
WHAT MAKES THE SMALL GUY SO GREAT?
There are some definite advantages to working with smaller companies. Here´s why"?¦
Ã? Smaller firms become larger firms over time-Do you think Microsoft started out as a billion dollar company? Please. All companies have to start somewhere.
Ã? Smaller firms like to do business with other smaller firms. Small firms want to feel as if the person they are giving their money to will treat them as an individual. Also they understand that by doing business with a similar sized firm, the work will be applicable to their budget.
Ã? By doing business with a small firm you will probably get paid a lot faster. Ever try to get a big corporation to pay you? There are probably two or three people that need to sign off on the invoice and even then it could take up to 30 days to recive payment. Asmaller firm will ususally have 1-2 people approving invoices and while their budget and cash flow may not be as good, they understand how difficult it can be to get paid.
Ã? Doing business with a mixture of smaller and larger firms mean you get to keep your doors open longer. Because of the faster turnaround in payment, you will have better cash flow.
Ã? Larger Corporations have vendor´s lists. Which mean that you are in a pool of say 1000 other companies vying for the same job. And you can bet that there is a committee to make a decision on which firm will get the job. And that´s if they don´t decide at the last minute to keep the job in-house.
Ã? Smaller firms help to build a portfolio. Let´s say that Clorox was interested in working with you but when you finished your presentation they realized that your firm wasn´t as experienced as they would like for that particular project. By working with a smaller firm you may not have the prestige of a large corporation but you will gain experience and begin building a more comprehensive and varied portfolio. All of which could lead to landing the job at Clorox.
Ã? Think Volume. For my money, 10 small firms are as good as 1 large one. When I began my practice, I had one large account that was paying all the bills. I got lazy and didn’t feel the need to look for more work because I was still thinking like an employee instead of a business person."?¦and then I lost the account. I freaked out. And I swore I would never have just 1 account after that. If you have a mixture of small and large accounts you are almost guaranteed to keep your staff and company running smoothly.
Ã? If you are a small firm can you really afford to negate any company that´s ready to spend their money with you? I’ve worked with a lot of smaller firms who turn their noses up at other smaller firms because the money isn’t as good. Always a mistake I think.
Ã? Referrals. If you do a great job (and remember to ask for referrals) chances are you´ll get them. You may also be able to convince them to find the money do another project with you.
v Here´s a tip. When the economy (or business) is sluggish, lower your rates (a bit) for a short period. You will be able to raise them later when business picks up.
v Get creative with your marketing and do a free posting on Craigslist.com .This site will let you post an ad for free for up to 7-10 days. And you can post it in different cities. I still get about 1/3 of my business from Craigslist
This is an excerpt from my book "Telemarketing Success for Small and mid-sized Firms available at www.amazon.com and bookstores everywhere
Tony Wilkins is the owner of Telemarketing Consulting Services and author of "Telemarketing Success for Small and Mid-sized Firms´ available in most bookstores and online at www.amazon.com and www.xlibris.com you may also find out about his workshops and services at
http://stores.ebay.com/telemarketing-success via e: mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 415-267-4872 .If you´d like to be notified of a new posting for this column, please contact Tony Wilkins at email@example.com