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The Best Things Come in Small Packages

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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  1. Jackie Ward says:

    So true, I for one, much prefer getting to know who I’m dealing with and I appreciate anyone who gets to know me and my foibles!

    Continuity is something I think you could add – do you get a different member of staff each time you deal with a large organisation – and have to start the getting to know you process all over again?

    • Kay Heald says:

      Jackie – excellent addition! I’ve actually won work off larger competitors, because business owners were so fed up never speaking to the same person twice! Many thanks!

  2. One big advantage that I see is empathy. An employee of a bigger firm advising the owner of a small family run business cannot, hard as they may try, truly empathise with the unique challenges that face them. Restrictions on time, budgets and the need to multi-task and be operational every day, as opposed to having the time to focus on staffing and the problems and intricacies of recruitment, training and motivation of quality staff make it a big challenge. And this is a challenge that only we small business owners can understand!

    It’s the same with what I do. I use my own experiences of marketing on a shoestring and with very limited time, to be able to offer realisitic recommendations to my clients. I focus on helping them to get the best result without losing focus on what they need to deliver to their customers every day.

    Congratulations on your achievement by the way! Bring on next year 😉

    • Kay Heald says:

      Claire – Absolutely! I think it makes a tremendous difference being able to relate to clients and see where they are coming from. I know you’ve been very generous with your marketing tips and guidance to small businesses – I think this all helps build the long term relationship with clients, which is so important these days. Thanks too for your kind comments!

  3. Anil Amrit says:

    Nice article Kay,

    Agree 100% with what Jackie and Claire have written already.

    Affinity & Dedication is two I would add.

    I’m highly experienced in what I do and have a good network of people I have worked with and collaborate with. In the last 6 months I have had 2 major players who have come away from a larger agency outfit simply because they got sick and tired of not having a dedicated person to deal with who can do what they want, when they want, first time around, without any hassle.

    I meet all my clients face to face, get to know them and their business personally. Having worked for and run an agency, I know first hand how a brief and communications can get filtered and misunderstood very easily, projects get passed around which in turn extends the turnaround time, which decreases the project income.

    Taking the right amount of workload allows us to manage, focus and dedicate a lot more productive time without having a client on the clock, they see this, they appreciate it and they respect it.

    • Kay Heald says:

      Anil – thank you so much for your great contribution – Affinity and Dedication are super additions to the list and help provide a real quality of service.

  4. Sue Christian says:

    Very well done, Kay, in getting to the Family Business Awards final!

    I would very much rather deal with a small enterprise like yours where I can be sure of friendly, efficient and personal service than a small cog in a large organisation.

    • Kay Heald says:

      Sue, thank you ever so much! I think personal service is more important than ever – a great way to be remembered in a positive light! Thank you for adding to the list.

  5. Jen Hawkins says:

    Kay your attitude and approach to business is so refreshing. To come to a professional like yourself who truly cares for their clients would give me more peace of mind and security than being a faceless statistic. Well done on your commendable approach to caring for your clients

  6. Jane Shaw says:

    Great Blog Kay..the strapline too. Its your empathy with people that wins it for you…and should have won you the award!..next year beckons..

12 responses to “The Best Things Come in Small Packages”

  1. Jackie Ward says:

    So true, I for one, much prefer getting to know who I’m dealing with and I appreciate anyone who gets to know me and my foibles!

    Continuity is something I think you could add – do you get a different member of staff each time you deal with a large organisation – and have to start the getting to know you process all over again?

    • Kay Heald says:

      Jackie – excellent addition! I’ve actually won work off larger competitors, because business owners were so fed up never speaking to the same person twice! Many thanks!

  2. One big advantage that I see is empathy. An employee of a bigger firm advising the owner of a small family run business cannot, hard as they may try, truly empathise with the unique challenges that face them. Restrictions on time, budgets and the need to multi-task and be operational every day, as opposed to having the time to focus on staffing and the problems and intricacies of recruitment, training and motivation of quality staff make it a big challenge. And this is a challenge that only we small business owners can understand!

    It’s the same with what I do. I use my own experiences of marketing on a shoestring and with very limited time, to be able to offer realisitic recommendations to my clients. I focus on helping them to get the best result without losing focus on what they need to deliver to their customers every day.

    Congratulations on your achievement by the way! Bring on next year 😉

    • Kay Heald says:

      Claire – Absolutely! I think it makes a tremendous difference being able to relate to clients and see where they are coming from. I know you’ve been very generous with your marketing tips and guidance to small businesses – I think this all helps build the long term relationship with clients, which is so important these days. Thanks too for your kind comments!

  3. Anil Amrit says:

    Nice article Kay,

    Agree 100% with what Jackie and Claire have written already.

    Affinity & Dedication is two I would add.

    I’m highly experienced in what I do and have a good network of people I have worked with and collaborate with. In the last 6 months I have had 2 major players who have come away from a larger agency outfit simply because they got sick and tired of not having a dedicated person to deal with who can do what they want, when they want, first time around, without any hassle.

    I meet all my clients face to face, get to know them and their business personally. Having worked for and run an agency, I know first hand how a brief and communications can get filtered and misunderstood very easily, projects get passed around which in turn extends the turnaround time, which decreases the project income.

    Taking the right amount of workload allows us to manage, focus and dedicate a lot more productive time without having a client on the clock, they see this, they appreciate it and they respect it.

    • Kay Heald says:

      Anil – thank you so much for your great contribution – Affinity and Dedication are super additions to the list and help provide a real quality of service.

  4. Sue Christian says:

    Very well done, Kay, in getting to the Family Business Awards final!

    I would very much rather deal with a small enterprise like yours where I can be sure of friendly, efficient and personal service than a small cog in a large organisation.

    • Kay Heald says:

      Sue, thank you ever so much! I think personal service is more important than ever – a great way to be remembered in a positive light! Thank you for adding to the list.

  5. Jen Hawkins says:

    Kay your attitude and approach to business is so refreshing. To come to a professional like yourself who truly cares for their clients would give me more peace of mind and security than being a faceless statistic. Well done on your commendable approach to caring for your clients

  6. Jane Shaw says:

    Great Blog Kay..the strapline too. Its your empathy with people that wins it for you…and should have won you the award!..next year beckons..