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It’s Fun Being the Little Fish: 6 Reasons Why It’s Good to Keep Your Business Small

As the owner of a small business that services other small businesses, I have more than my fair share of experience in the SMB world. So please, take it from me when I say that it is not bad to be a little fish in the big pond of your industry.

Here is why:

  1. Easier to pivot – When you keep your staff trim and nimble, it is easier to adapt to changes in the market and adjust your strategy accordingly. For us, being able to pivot quickly and efficiently was paramount to our success throughout COVID-19. In a time when many of our larger competitors went out of business, we were able to pivot and, in turn, grow our market share. Learn more about this here.
  2. Niche expertise – When you keep your business small, you can focus all your effort on being best-in-class. It’s always more advantageous to be the very best in one niche than to be mid-rank in two or more niches. Wise words from Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson come to mind, but I digress.
  3. Communication lines are more straightforward – At large businesses, it can be difficult for employees to know who to bring their feedback or concerns to. When your team is small, feedback can circulate more quickly, and communication lines are clearer and more straightforward. This helps alleviate employee stress and frustration. This sentiment is also true for the clients you serve— timely customer feedback can help your company make the quick adjustments it needs to keep from losing out on future clients and opportunities.
  4. Quicker to launch new initiatives – At most small businesses, employees do not have to jump through hoops for their ideas to be heard, and the approval chain is generally shorter, so new initiatives are much quicker to implement and launch. For example, it takes the average business up to 34 weeks to launch a new website. For our small team, this process took only a total of 12 weeks. Why? Because of our short (but still highly effective) approval chain.
  5. Management keeps their skills sharper – Management teams at larger companies are often unable to take on a workload outside of monitoring and managing employees day-to-day. In smaller businesses, managers get to keep their workload skills sharp and manage their teams. I have found that employees generally view their managers as more credible and relatable when they are performing the same work.
  6. Quality control and assurance – Every business owner knows it is important for employees to put their best foot forward and represent the brand well. From phone call etiquette to marketing materials, it is much easier to keep an eye on every work product and output in a smaller setting, thus keeping your brand reputation in line with your company values and mission.

All of this is not to say there is never a time and place for expanding your business— these are just some of the many reasons we love being small.

However, I also recognize that it is incredibly important to have a scalable business model and a contingency plan for exponential growth. Sometimes your success as a little fish leads to bigger opportunities that you should take advantage of. 

Heather Francis

Heather Francis

CEO, Elevate Funding