Should every small business owner have big ambitions? Certainly almost anyone who enters into the world of the entrepreneur or starts up their own, whether based at home, the high street or the web, has dreams of becoming a future success. After all, every large high street store, every national or international chain and every top name on the web started out as a small, fairly obscure business once. However, how can any small businesses manage to succeed in a world that seems dominated by big brands, big names and colossal empires?
It can certainly frighten off many people who see the world of business like the ocean, with sharks round every coral reef, and danger lurking in the dark depths. Add to this the current economical climate with many seemingly secure names crumbling, and even entire nations finding themselves crippled, and many would be business owners may well consider that now is not the time to start up a new venture, or aim to develop an existing one.
However, this is a terribly defeatist attitude, and brings to the table so many assumptions and myths that those who believe them to be true may well never make it in business, whatever the climate and conditions, and whatever the competition. Let’s look at the truth, and see why these assertions are untrue, and why not only is the ocean not full of sharks, but the current economical climate makes it perfect for the small business entrepreneur to jump in and try the water for themselves.
To stretch out our metaphor just a little longer, so many people suggest that small businesses are almost doomed to failure because of the great sharks out there which dominate the waters of business. If this were true in the world of the sea, then there would be no fish and chips, no marine life, nothing except sharks. But if you swam the entire ocean you may very well never even come across one. The ocean is a big place, and the truth is that whilst sharks may be at the top of the chain, the ocean is still vast, the potential massive, and clearly there are ways to survive. The trick is, like the many fish that enjoy the waters, to stay alert, to keep your eyes open, to be able to adapt if necessary, and to manoeuvre more quickly and effectively.
How does this translate to the world of business then? Quite simply, small business owners have an advantage which the larger retail industries don’t have. Size may be good in some instances, but it can also be a handicap, and can reduce flexibility, manoeuvrability and adaptability. Small businesses can change, adapt and take advantage of current trends, new developments and niche markets in ways which the bigger businesses can’t.
An entrepreneur might see a possible niche market opening up as a result of search engine trends, a news story or forthcoming weather warnings, and instantly flood the market with content, links, pay per click adverts and search engine optimized content to take advantage of the possible market interest. Larger stores don’t always seem to have their online ear to the ground as it were in the same way, and can often find that reacting to changing markets may involve several boardroom meetings and management discussions before the action starts to happen.
Small businesses which can make full use of this adaptability and flexibility, reacting to developing opportunities as and when they happen can mean that they appear higher up the search engine results than many of the international corporations. However, what about the current economical situation? Surely the bigger businesses have a bigger buffer against such strains and pressures, making them dominate the market where smaller businesses may easily crumble?
Certainly, the world of finance isn’t being especially kind to many industries at the moment, but perhaps the aspect which has surprised most people is just how many of the leading brands, bigger companies and established businesses have begun to crumble. Many have gone into administration or left the playing field altogether, whilst others have sought rescue packages from the government. What of the pressures facing the small business then? Surely this isn’t any less significant?
Just as certain is the fact that the same pressures will be facing small business owners, but there are significant differences. The flexibility and adaptability comes into play again, with smaller businesses able to identify problems as well as opportunities that much quicker, steering out of the way of danger and moving into niche markets or promotion fields which may prove to be safer or more successful. Often the larger businesses only manage to stay competitive because of the huge financial risks and gambles which they take. That’s why many of the chief executives earn such vast sums of money – they are the ones whose heads roll if the decisions they make turn bad.
Starting up or developing a small business today means being perceptive enough to understand what markets work well at a time like this, and which don’t, what promotion strategies work well, and which don’t. Thinking from the point of view of the consumer can be easier for small business owners, and it is this which allows them to be more in touch with the emerging needs, markets and opportunities becoming available, leaving the international behemoths to plough forever onwards in an almost immovable path towards whatever lies ahead.
Naz Daud is the founder of CityLocal. This Franchise Opportunity is for people who would like to work from home and be their own boss.