Monday, May 04, 2009

For small businesses

Why Small Companies Will Win in This Economy - Peter Bregman - HarvardBusiness.org
In the worst economy we've seen in decades, Passlogix, a privately owned 100-person software development company, just received over a million dollars in prepaid commitments for the next three to five years of service. And they beat out several much larger more established companies, like CA (14,000 employees) and IBM (400,000 employees), to win those customers.

Now, how do you explain that? The bigger companies aren't getting similar deals. It's not standard in this industry to prepay contracts of that size and duration. And the clients received only a small reduction for their upfront payment, less than the cost of capital.

I think it's a trend. And understanding it might just be the difference between failing and thriving in this economy.

Yesterday morning I had breakfast with a good friend of mine, a mentor in the consulting industry. He's a senior partner in a large consulting company and has worked in one large company or another for the past 35 years. Really smart, really talented.

***
Now compare that to Passlogix, whose clients know they can pick up the phone and speak with Marc Boroditsky, the CEO. He tells clients about his commitment to the company and to them, and they know exactly who to call if the work isn't done to their expectations. That personal relationship, that trust, is important to them. They're willing to invest in it long term — to the tune of millions of dollars, up front.

And it's not just the CEO. If clients speak with other employees in the company, they'll get the same feeling of trust. A small company gives its employees a sense of security and employees pass that feeling on to clients. Not that small companies don't go out of business. They do all the time. But each employee has much greater control over his own destiny. In a company of 30 employees, if you do a great job, there is a good chance you'll be recognized. But in a company of thousands? It's easy to be missed. And easy to be laid off.

The gap of confidence between small companies and big ones is growing. We used to rely on the security of big companies. That's why we worked for them. And hired them. And put our money in them.
12 Ways Companies are Reacting to the Recession | Shrinkage Is Good
Recessions mean big changes for everyone and everything, including the marketing campaigns businesses use to reach customers. During economic downturns, the “same old, same old” advertising that carry businesses through prosperous times simply will not cut it. Our current recession is no exception, as businesses take to the Internet, radio, television, and billboards with marketing tactics that target the needs and concerns of consumers under duress rather than the products themselves. Here are twelve examples of such recession marketing strategies, as well as the companies known to employ them.


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