I recently attended the 2011 Midlands Family Business Awards in Birmingham , as a finalist in their Leading Adviser category.  I was the smallest business there and all my fellow finalists came from large corporate professional service firms.

Yes, to start with I did feel a bit intimidated, but during my conversations with the other attendees I was reminded of Seth Godin’s excellent blog entitled ‘Small is the New Big’.  It wasn’t until that evening had I really understood how many advantages I had as a small business, over my larger competitors.


Building quality relationships with my clients was so much easier for me than it was for many of them!

Loads of examples kept popping into my head, but here are my favourite ones, which I know will apply to lots of other small enterprises:

Attentive – I listen to my clients and work hard to understand what challenges and emotional issues affect them, so that I can find the very best practical HR solutions

Flexible – I address my widely differing clients’ needs (and their budgets), from the micro businesses employing their first member of staff to the multi-generational business preparing to hand over the reins to a younger family member

Caring – I take time to learn about my clients and look for ways to make their lives a little easier and less stressful, from translating legal employment jargon into practical responses, to helping them build and develop better communications with their staff

Responsive to Change – I find practical ways to use best practice and technological changes to assist my clients, from helping them invest in their people, to embracing relevant social media to help them with their recruitment

Decisive – I can make decisions quickly, so that an escalating staffing issue can be dealt with in a professional and timely way

I may not have come away from Birmingham with a trophy this time (I came 4th!), but I have been blown away by the amazing local support I received during and after the awards, not only for my work, but my attempts in taking on the bigger professional service firms!

As my Mum always told me: ‘the best things come in small packages’

If you have any other advantages to add to this list, please do put them in the comments section below.

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