Monday, 27 June 2011

Attitude of big business to SMEs

Link here is an article by Robert Craven outlining his personal frustration at being treated by other businesses as an amorphous type of client called an "SME". He makes a number of very reasonable points about wanted to be treated as an individual or individual business rather than an income stream to be exploited.

During my seminars this is a consistent theme - that government (not too surprisingly) and large business (more surprisingly) do not really understand owner managed, and small businesses. It may be a lot of effort to do so, but there are real upsides if you can. Many, though not all, small businesses seek success through Customer Intimacy rather than innovation or operational excellence (see Weirsma and Tracey for details). They expect that their suppliers should treat them in the same way.

Interestingly our partners at TBR recently published a paper on employment and small businesses. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the high growth companies that are the drivers of employment in the UK, but the myriad small start ups - particularly those employing 5 to 20 people. Now that is an attractive market - but it needs to be approached in the right way. These companies are not miniture multi-nationals, and in most cases do not seek to become them.

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