How Small Businesses Can Run Like Big Ones

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Big isn’t always better. Sure, sizable corporations do have some innate advantages over small businesses, such as larger budgets and more room to take risks. Yet smaller companies can often manage to outwit much bigger competitors through strategic, creative planning.

Are you heading up one of the more than 30 million small businesses across the country? Winning market share isn’t impossible, even if you’re going up against behemoths or legacy brands. Just apply a few tips and tricks to make sure you can match up to your bigger rivals.

1. Keep overhead as low as possible.

Want to run with the big dogs? You’ll need to make the most out of every penny that comes into your company coffers. At the same time, you want to be responsible and not stingy with your resources. One way to lower costs is to join a group purchasing organization (GPO) as part of your overall buying strategy. GPOs have tremendous purchasing and negotiating power, allowing you to get deep discounts. Plus, you won’t necessarily have to pay any fees. Seek out a GPO that gets paid from the vendors instead of its members.

Another method to lower overhead is to move to a 100% remote workforce. With your newly created tech stack, you shouldn’t have a problem going virtual. As long as your team can access all the information they need from dedicated Internet lines, they’ll be golden.

2. Build an affordable tech stack to automate and streamline operations.

Technology is your friend, especially if you’re a small business. Plenty of subscription-model services, software, and cloud-based providers are available. This allows you to build a solid tech stack to reduce repetitive internal processes. You and your employees can focus on higher-level responsibilities and impress customers with superior service and support.

What should your tech stack include? First, you’ll want a centralized knowledge system that can be accessed from anywhere. This could involve a corporate wiki or just a robust intranet. Make sure that your knowledge system matches up to your customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. That way, any staff member can easily help a client over the phone.

Nice-to-have add-ons for your tech stack include service options that allow you to seamlessly communicate with customers on multiple channels. Find a provider that enables omnichannel support so your people can log in once and never have to switch portals. Another advantageous tech stack bonus is an AI augmented chat feature. Even if it’s basic, it can reduce call volumes and give customers the ability to help themselves.

3. Amass a diverse workforce of full-time employees and independent contractors.

Want to beef up your company’s income streams by up to 19%? Ensure that you’re not filling your seats with people from the same backgrounds and experiences. Instead, practice diversity and inclusion during your hiring processes.

This doesn’t mean that you have to hire a group of full-timers, though. Your diverse workforce could be a mixture of core full-time team members and independent contractors. In fact, making use of independent contractors and freelancers gives you access to people with tremendous skill sets. At the same time, you don’t have to worry about paying them a salary or the overhead that comes with having full-time staffers.

Of course, if you’re going to use independent contractors, know the rules and regulations. You have less control over how and when independent contractors work. Therefore, make sure your independent contractors understand their responsibilities and your expectations upfront to reduce friction points.

4. Hire for culture fit, passion, and possibilities.

As one study showed, matching people up with the right working environments for their talents produces exceptional corporate outcomes. In other words, look beyond resumes when you have positions to fill. Conduct interviews to see who’s going to be culturally in sync with the internal and external brand you’ve constructed. 

Having passionate people committed to supporting the essence of your small business will make a huge difference. Remember: Your employees are your frontline cheerleaders. Places like Glassdoor make it easy for disgruntled workers to air their dirty laundry. At the same time, employer review sites showcase the best companies to work for. Make sure yours is on the list by offering roles to top recruits who’ll mesh with your corporate culture. In turn, they’ll treat your customers like gold and make it seem like your small business is bigger.

Being a small to mid-sized company has lots of advantages. Concentrate on leveraging those advantages while strategically switching your operations to compete on the big stage.

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Renee Johnson is a freelance writer who covers the business and tech worlds. With experience writing for a variety of tech-based publications and a background in business, management, and finance, Johnson discusses new technologies and their impact.