The UK has a total of 4.8 million private sector businesses, 96% or 4.6 million of those companies are Micro-Businesses (those with 0-9 employees). For all those Micro-Business owners out there, you may be small but you’re certainly not alone. Since 2008 the UK economy and employment has been in turmoil and we’re told that big banks, insurance companies, manufacturing and big companies will boost our economy and provide jobs. Of course big businesses are vital but the star of the show is SME’s. Large companies employ 9.67 million people in the UK, whilst SME’s employ 14.13 million, so you might be small but you’re more powerful than the big supermarkets and big brands.
The only advantage larger organisations have over SME’s is money. They have a bigger budget for marketing and are able to bulk buy their way into the minds of the consumers. Consumers on our high streets are faced with the same big brands as every other high street in the UK and can buy the same homogenised products as everyone else. The 99p shops stock the same products, the supermarkets increase prices yet reduce product sizes and high street chains offer the same style of clothes. Therefore small businesses can offer choice, variety in products & services and specialist niche advice. I’ve certainly never found a unique one off product or received specialist advice in a chain store or supermarket. Small businesses are individual, unique and are able to offer a variety of choices to the ever demanding consumer.
Personalisation is a key strength of any Micro-Business or SME as you have the ability to tailor your products & services to suit the needs of each individual consumer. Make the customer feel special and not just like a number whose details will be placed into a gigantic database to facilitate more generic sales. Marketing your small business might not reach the volume of people like a big business can, but that’s good. You should be aiming to promote your company by targeting smaller market segments and engaging with one customer at a time. You can offer 1:2:1 marketing and 1:2:1 customer service, which gives you a significant advantage over your larger competitors. Big businesses need to navigate their way through bureaucracy and adhere to time-consuming processes. Any major changes need to be board and shareholder approved and this takes time and money. Small businesses don’t have this problem, if you want to diversify or tweak your business model, then you can do so with ease.
So the next time small business owners play the mini violin and moan about the big supermarkets or high street chains, always remember that you can use being small to your advantage – SMALL IS GOOD!