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8 Lessons For Small Business From Big Business

Just because your business is small, doesn't mean you can't learn from the successes - and failures - of larger companies. By studying the strategies employed by big businesses, small business owners can create a roadmap for success that works for them.


Here are eight lessons from big business that all small business owners should keep in mind.


1. Create a Clear Vision and Mission for Your Small Business

It's no secret that big businesses have a clear vision and mission. This is something that helps drive them. But did you know that many small businesses don't have this? If you're a small business owner, you can benefit from having a clear vision and mission. Here's why it's important and how you can create one for your business.


Your business' vision is your overall goal. It's what you want to achieve in the long-term. For example, your vision might be to become the leading provider of XYZ in the UK. 

Your mission statement, on the other hand, is how you plan to achieve your vision. So, using the same example, your mission might be to provide high-quality XYZ products and services that meet the needs of our customers.


Creating a clear vision and mission for your small business has several benefits. 


First, it gives you a sense of direction. This can be especially helpful when you're making decisions about where to focus your time and resources.


Second, it can help you attract and retain employees who share your values and are passionate about your mission.


Finally, it can help improve customer loyalty by ensuring that they know what they can expect from your products and services. 


Creating a Clear Vision and Mission Statement for Your Business


Now that we've explained why it's important to have a clear vision and mission for your small business, let's talk about how you can create one.


The first step is to think about what you want to achieve in the long-term. What is your overall goal? Once you've answer this question, you can start to craft your vision statement. 


Your vision statement should be short—no more than a few sentences—and easy to remember. It should also be inspiring so that it motivates you and your team to achieve the impossible! Here are some examples of Vision Statements from well-known companies: 


Disney: "To make people happy." 


Amnesty International: "A world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments." 


IKEA: "To create a better everyday life for the many people." 


As you can see, these vision statements are all simple yet powerful. They're also easy to remember, which is important because you'll want to refer back to it often to ensure that you're on track. 

The next step is to write down your mission statement.


This should describe how you plan to achieve your vision. Remember to keep it short, sweet, and actionable so that everyone in your company knows exactly what they need to do in order to contribute towards achieving the company's goals . Once again, here are some examples of great mission statements: 


Nike: "To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world." (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)


Home Depot: "To be the best home improvement retailer in terms of customer service, profitability, growth potential."


Facebook : " To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together ." 


A strong vision and mission statement is vital for any small business owner who wants to succeed .

By creating a clear picture of where you want your business to go in the future ,you'll be able to make better decisions about where best to invest your time and resources .

What's more, a compelling vision and mission will help you attract and retain top-talent employees who share your values and are passionate about your mission.

Finally , it can help improve customer loyalty by ensuring that they know what they can expect from your products and services.

If you don't already have a vision and mission for your small business, not waste time!

Start today by thinking about what you want to achieve in the long-term and what steps you should take in order to get there. Before you know it, you'll have a roadmap for success!




2. Investing in marketing

It's no secret that marketing is essential for any business. After all, how can customers learn about your company and its products or services if you don't tell them?


Marketing helps to create awareness of your brand and can be a powerful tool for driving sales.


However, many small businesses underestimate the importance of investing in marketing. They may think that they can't afford to spend money on marketing or that their marketing efforts will be ineffective compared to those of larger companies. But the truth is, not investing in marketing can be a critical mistake.


Below, we'll explore some of the reasons why marketing is so important for small businesses and why failing to invest in it can have disastrous consequences. Hopefully, this will convince you to start pumping money into your marketing budget!


1) Marketing Helps You Stand Out From the Crowd

In today's competitive business landscape, it's more important than ever to make sure your company stands out from the crowd. There are thousands of small businesses vying for attention, and without a strong marketing strategy, it can be very difficult to get noticed.

Investing in marketing will help you to develop a unique selling proposition (USP) and create messages that differentiate your business from the competition. With a USP and differentiated messaging, you'll be able to capture the attention of potential customers and convert them into loyal fans. 


2) Marketing Gives You Insights Into Your Customers

Another reason why marketing is so important for small businesses is that it gives you valuable insights into your target market. Through market research and customer surveys, you'll be able to learn about your customers' needs, desires, and preferences. This information is critical for developing products and services that meet your customers' needs and ensuring that your marketing messages resonate with them. 


3) Marketing Drives Sales

Of course, one of the most important reasons to invest in marketing is that it drives sales. By increasing awareness of your brand and generating leads, marketing helps you to boost revenue and achieve profitability. In fact, studies have shown that companies that allocate 7-8% of their revenues towards marketing experience significantly higher sales growth than those who allocate less than 5%. 


As a small business owner, it's essential to invest in marketing. Marketing helps you to stand out from the crowd, understand your customers better, and drive sales. Not investing in marketing can be a critical mistake with disastrous consequences.

However you do also need to be savvy with your marketing budget and understand the return you are getting from your marketing spend, pumping in money without evaluating data can see you run out of cash quickly. 

So don't wait, get marketing!




3. Focus on customer service

It's no secret that good customer service is important for businesses of all sizes. Happy customers are more likely to continue doing business with you, and they're also more likely to recommend your business to friends and family. But for small businesses, good customer service is even more important. That's because small businesses typically don't have the same marketing budgets as their larger counterparts. As a result, word-of-mouth referrals can be make-or-break for small businesses.

So how can small businesses make sure they're providing great customer service? 

Let's take a look.


The Importance of First Impressions

First impressions are important for everyone, but they're especially important for small businesses. That's because people generally trust recommendations from friends and family members more than they trust advertising. And if you want your customers to recommend your business to their loved ones, you need to give them a great first impression.


How can you do that?

Start by making sure your employees are friendly and helpful. Train them to go above and beyond for customers, and make sure they're always putting the customer first. You should also pay attention to your physical appearance. Is your store or office clean and inviting? Are your products clearly displayed? How do people look when they are on Zoom calls?

The little things matter, so pay attention to the details.


The Power of Follow-Up

Another important aspect of great customer service is follow-up. After a customer has made a purchase, give them a call or send them an email to thank them for their business. This simple gesture will show your customers that you appreciate their business and that you're interested in their satisfaction. It's also an opportunity to upsell or cross-sell additional products or services.


You should also follow up with customers who didn't make a purchase but showed interest in your products or services. If someone came into your enquired but didn't buy anything, give them a call a few days later to see if they have any questions or if there's anything you can do to help them make a decision. This type of follow-up shows that you're invested in helping your customers find what they need—even if it means they don't make a purchase from you right away. 


Fortunately, there are plenty of things small businesses can do to make sure they're providing great customer service, including paying attention to first impressions, following up with customers after purchases, and staying focused on the needs of the customer at all times.

By following these tips, you can be sure that your small business is providing the best possible customer service—and reaping the rewards that come along with it.




4. Building a Strong Team

Big businesses have long understood the importance of building a strong team. A group of talented and dedicated employees working together can achieve great things. But what exactly goes into building such a team? 


The first lesson is to carefully select each member of the team.

It's important to take the time to find individuals who have the skills and experience needed to succeed. Furthermore, it's important to make sure that each team member is compatible with the others. A good team is like a well-oiled machine; all of the parts must work together in harmony.


The second lesson is to provide team members with the resources and support they need to be successful.

This includes everything from adequate training to the right tools and equipment. Without these things, team members will struggled to perform at their best.


The third and final lesson is to ensure that team members are motivated to do their best work.

This means creating a positive work environment where employees feel valued and appreciated. Furthermore, it means offering incentives for employees who go above and beyond expectations. 


Building a strong team is essential for any business that wants to succeed, whether those people are employees or contractors/freelancers. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of lessons that small businesses can learn from big businesses in this regard.

By taking the time to carefully select each team member, providing them with the resources and support they need, and ensuring that they are motivated to do their best work, small businesses can put themselves on the path to success.




5. The Importance of Budgeting

In today's business world, it's more important than ever to keep a close eye on your spending. Large businesses have long understood the importance of budgeting and forecasting, but for small businesses, this can often be seen as an unnecessary overhead. However, nothing could be further from the truth - small businesses can benefit hugely from implementing a budget and tracking their actual to budget performance.

Here's why:


1. Helps you make informed decisions about where to allocate your resources

When you know how much money you have coming in and going out each month, you can start to make informed decisions about where to best allocate your resources. Do you need to invest in new equipment? Are you able to take on additional staff? Or can you take home more money?

These are the sorts of questions that can be answered by having a clear understanding of your business finances.


2. Prevents overspending and cash flow problems

One of the biggest challenges facing small businesses is cash flow management.

By forecasting your income and expenditure, you can avoid nasty surprises and ensure that you always have sufficient funds available to meet your obligations. This in turn helps to prevent overspending, which can quickly lead to financial difficulty.


3. Gives you a clear picture of your business performance

Budgeting also provides valuable insight into the overall performance of your business. Are you meeting your targets? Are there areas where you can make improvements? By regularly comparing your actual results against your budget, you can get a clear picture of how well your business is doing and identify potential areas for improvement.


As a small business owner, it's essential that you have a good understanding of your finances. Budgeting may seem like a time-consuming exercise, but it's actually one of the most effective ways to ensure that your business remains profitable and cash flow positive. So if you haven't already done so, I urge you to sit down and put together a budget for your business - it could make all the difference!




6. The Importance of Strategy for Small Businesses

All businesses, big or small, need to have a clear strategy in place. A well-executed strategy can mean the difference between success and failure. So, what exactly is strategy?


Simply put, strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a specific goal.


Big businesses have entire teams dedicated to developing and executing company strategy. For small businesses, this task usually falls on the shoulders of the owner or CEO. While it may seem daunting, creating and implementing a successful business strategy is not impossible.

Here are a few tips to help you get started.


Define Your Goals

The first step in any successful business venture is to define your goals. What exactly do you want to achieve? Do you want to grow your business, enter into new markets, or improve efficiency? Once you have a clear idea of your goals, you can begin to develop a plan of action. 


Know Your Audience

Who is your target market? Knowing who you want to reach will help you determine the best way to reach them. Are they active on social media? Do they prefer traditional advertising methods? Identifying your audience will help you create a marketing plan that meets their needs. 


Allocate Your Resources Wisely

As a small business, you probably don’t have an unlimited budget. That’s why it’s important to allocate your resources wisely. When developing your marketing plan, be sure to consider the cost of each initiative and whether it is likely to produce results. There’s no point in spending money on something that isn’t going to help you achieve your goals. 


Execute Your Plan and Measure the Results

Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to put it into action. Be sure to track your progress so that you can measure the results of your efforts. This will help you identify what’s working and what isn’t so that you can make necessary adjustments along the way. 


Developing and executing a business strategy may seem like a daunting task, but it is essential for all businesses, big or small. The first step is to define your goals so that you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. Next, identify your target audience so that you can create a marketing plan that meets their needs. Finally, allocate your resources wisely and track your progress so that you can measure the results of your efforts. By following these simple tips, you can develop a successful business strategy that will help your company achieve its goals.




7. Be efficient

Being efficient is the process of using resources in an effective way with the goal of minimising waste.


Efficiency can help businesses save money and time, which can then be used to reinvest in the business, create new products or services, or pay the business owner more. Many small businesses can learn from the efficiency of large businesses and implement some of these same strategies.


There are a few key areas where small businesses can focus on becoming more efficient: 


Automation 

Automating tasks can free up time for employees to focus on other areas of the business. Automation can also help with tasks that are repetitive and/or mundane, making them easier and faster to complete.


Communication

Efficient communication is key to ensuring that everyone in the organisation is on the same page. Having clear and concise communication will save time and avoid misunderstandings.


Planning

Planning ahead can help you be prepared for anything that comes your way. By taking the time to plan, you can avoid last-minute scrambling and make sure that everything runs smoothly. 


Delegation

Knowing when to delegate tasks is an important part of being efficient. Trying to do everything yourself will only lead to burnout; delegation will help you get things done while still maintaining a healthy work-life balance. 


Time Management

Managing your time effectively is crucial to being efficient. This means setting priorities, planning ahead, and avoiding procrastination. 


By focusing on these key areas, small businesses can start to become more efficient and learn from the example set by big businesses. Implementing even just a few of these strategies can make a big difference in the overall efficiency of your small business! 


Being efficient is essential for all businesses, big or small. Small businesses can learn from big businesses by studying their efficiency practices and implementing some of the same strategies. There are a few key areas where small businesses can focus on becoming more efficient, such as automation, communication, planning, delegation, and time management. Implementing even just a few of these strategies can make a significant difference in the overall efficiency of your small business!




8. Innovate constantly

Innovation is the process of creating new ideas or products that are unique and different from what already exists. It is important for small businesses to innovate in order to stay competitive against larger companies. Small businesses can learn from big businesses by studying their innovation processes and implementing similar practices.


Innovation can help small businesses in a number of ways. 


To begin with, it can help them to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Being unique is one of the most important things a small business can do to stand out from the crowd. If customers see that your business is offering something different, they are more likely to remember you and come back to you in the future.


Innovation can also help small businesses to save money.


Large businesses have the advantage of economies of scale, which means they can often produce goods and services more cheaply than small businesses. However, if small businesses are innovating and finding new ways to do things, they can level the playing field somewhat. For example, if you can find a way to produce your product without using as much raw material, you will save money on your inputs and be more competitive on price.


Finally, innovation can help small businesses to attract and retain employees.


If you are offering a creative and inspiring work environment, you will find it easier to attract top talent. And once you have attracted great employees, they are more likely to stick around if they feel like they are able to be creative and innovative in their work. This will save you money in the long run as you won’t have to keep training new staff members.


How big businesses innovate?

Big businesses typically have large research and development (R&D) budgets which they use to employ teams of scientists and engineers who work on developing new products. They also have the advantage of being able to buy smaller companies who are already working on innovative products or bring in outside consultants who can bring new ideas into the business. In addition, big businesses often have access to venture capital funding which allows them to take risks on new products which may not pay off for many years. 


There are three main types of innovation process that exist within big businesses: directed, undirected, and networked.


Directed innovation is when a company deliberately sets out to develop a new product or service. This is usually done by setting up an R&D department whose sole purpose is to come up with new ideas.


Undirected innovation is when employees are given time and space to pursue their own interests and come up with new ideas without any specific direction from management.


Networked innovation is when a company works with other organisations—such as suppliers, customers, or universities—to jointly develop new products or services.


If you’re a small business owner who wants to start being more innovative, there are a few things you can do to get started.

Firstly, you need to create an environment where creativity and innovation are encouraged and valued. This means giving your employees the time and space to pursue their own interests and come up with new ideas. 


You should also set aside some budget for R&D so that you can invest in new products or services. 


Finally, consider working with other organisations—such as suppliers, customers, or universities—to jointly develop new products or services; this will give you access to a wider range of resources and knowledge.


In conclusion, innovation is important for small businesses because it helps them differentiate themselves from their competitors, saves them money, attracts and retains employees, among other things.




And finally

Big business can provide plenty of lessons for small businesses, if you’re willing to learn from them. From culture to customer service to managing risk, there are important takeaways at every level.


As a small business owner, it’s important to be open to new ideas and ways of doing things in order to compete – and succeed – in today’s marketplace.


What lessons have you learned from big business?

How have you applied them to your own small business?

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