What Small Businesses Can Learn | woman at laptop

What Small Businesses Can Learn From Large Corporations

Business is business, right?

Actually, no, not really.

I’ve worked for small businesses, mid-level companies, and global corporations so far in my career. And while each company has its own approach to “making the doughnuts,” I started to notice a few trends—like how smaller businesses manage to do more with less and how large corporations always invest in marketing.

In fact, there’s a lot small businesses can learn from large corporations—take it from someone who has been on the inside of both environments.

So, for all you entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners out there, here’s what small businesses can learn from large corporations:

They’re not afraid to spend revenue to improve the business

Sure, corporations have a larger pool of funds to use for business improvements, but they have budgets to work within, too.

Regardless of the amount of funding, there’s always a budget allocated to marketing, advertising, employee benefits, technology advancements, brick and mortar repairs and renovations, etc. It takes money to make money, and large companies live and breathe this sentiment.

Small Business Takeaway: Create a budget dedicated to business improvements. You don’t need Nike’s revenue to do this. Instead, stay within your means and go slow. If you’re not sure where to start, contact a business consultant for help.

They look ahead

Large companies consistently make forecasts and project ahead. In today’s world of ever-progressing technology, preparing for the future is non-negotiable. If the CEO of Google stuck his head in the sand and only worried about today, Google would cease to evolve and grow.

Small Business Takeaway: Don’t get so caught up in the day-to-day that you can’t see what’s coming down the pike. Schedule time to research industry trends and plan for the future.

They often invest in, and are highly attuned to, office culture

Monika recently sent both Meg and I a copy of Setting the Table by restauranteur and hospitality guru Danny Meyer.

The secret to Meyer’s success? Put your employees first.

Not the customers, not the products, but your employees. The idea is that happy employees will go above and beyond for the company and its customers—and it’s an idea that’s working. Many large companies like Zappos, BlueJeans, and Boston Beer are now focusing on employees’ well-being and providing amazing customer service as a result.

Small Business Takeaway: Make sure your employees are happy and taken care of. If they know you’re looking out for their best interest, they’ll fight for you and your company.

They take (well calculated) risks

Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, is a great example of a risk taker—both in business and his personal life. The daredevil CEO recently went out on a limb and invested in a product that was passed over on the hit TV show Shark Tank. Was it a risk? Yes. Will it pay off? Only time will tell—but the point here is that Branson was not afraid to take that chance.

Small Business Takeaway: If something feels like the right move for your business, then it might be worth taking a risk. Make sure you weigh out all your options and seek the counsel of seasoned professionals before you do.

Do you have experience working for a small business and a corporation? What other lessons can small business owners learn?


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