Is Big Better?
Hands up those who love dealing with customer service centers where no one is empowered to deal with your matter, no one knows who to put you through to to deal with your needs, but rather just read you the script and/or refer you to the website to work it out for yourself?
In most industries, there are the little guys and the big guys. Up here on Brisbane’s north we have had the introduction of Costco, IKEA, Bunnings, Masters etc etc. However, in the strip between Brendale and North Lakes, through to Morayfield and Caboolture there is a huge number of small to medium businesses scattered throughout communities.
Promoted by the mixed views in relation to Costco floating around conversations and social media, I posed the question, to the Albany Creek Business Contacts group – is big better?
This question was coupled with the desire to know – what are the opportunities for small business when confronted with large operators in their industries.
“Feedback from my clients tell me they prefer to do business with smaller operators because of the tailored solutions, back-up availability and superior customer service the smaller operators provide,” Nathan Dobbins, Core Computers commented.
De Wet van der Nest, Express Air Con Cleaning, shared some interesting insights from the USA which indicates consumer trends are moving away from the bigger operators towards the smaller local providers. The desire for more personal service and relationships so they know who they are talking to/dealing with underpins this growing trend.
Kathy Patterson, Brendale Stationery and Matthew Fox, Brisbane Hosting & Web Design echoed this trend adding that in their experiences, customers are looking for more personal service and genuinely wanting to support local. It was agreed, that price competitiveness still was a factor, however, lower pricing was not the sole motivator for many. Further, smaller operators could provide more flexibility to meet their customers’ needs where the larger operators tended to be more rigid in products and service delivery.
“Small business needs to stop competing with the bigger operators on their terms,” shared Leonard Whittaker, ActionCycle Learning. “People make buying decisions based on liking the person they are dealing with, believing the provider understands their needs and that the provider responds to them as a human being,” commented Leonard.
Big becomes depersonalized and consumers tend to prefer operators who are about the community in which they live. In this regard, Leonard shared six (6) principles for business to be successful in the eyes of their community:
- Keep money in the community.
- Keep money moving within the community.
- Be a contributor to the community (not just an advertiser to the community)
- Communicate with the community in a way people understand.
- Combat the point that consumers should buy on price.
- Help those who need help.
This sense of community was expanded on by the business owners in the group reinforcing that a competitive advantage to business is to be a part of their community and build relationships. All sounds good, but what can a small business do to achieve this? Suggestions provided covered:
- Give time to community activities like APEX, Rotary etc.
- Give time and/or sponsorship to community sports and children’s activities like Scouts.
- Volunteer services to community/not for profit organisations, eg, if in fitness business, offer a pre-season fitness session to players at the local footy club.
- Volunteer at the local school or your child/ren’s school.
- Sponsor local school awards.
It is very encouraging to hear small business speak so positively. Small business is the backbone of communities so get out there and build your profile both personally and for your business.
Albany Creek Business Contacts consists of local quality and reliable businesses who provide a wide range of services from home and residential services to B2B and commercial services. Our service areas cover primarily Albany Creek, Eatons Hill, Brendale, Aspley, Warner, Chermside, Strathpine, North Lakes. However many members will cover greater areas.
Albany Creek Business Contacts meet fortnightly on a Wednesday morning for a 7am breakfast and networking meeting.
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Situated in Strathpine on Brisbane North, we partner with our clients to assist them in their accounting, business management and bookkeeping needs. Our clients vary in industries from professional services (such as law, vet and dentist) to the trades (mechanic, bricklaying, plasterer etc), hospitality and retail. Are clients are located in the Pine Rivers area (including Brendale, Lawnton, Albany Creek and Eatons Hill) through to Kallangur, Petrie, North Lakes and Caboolture, as well as Brisbane South, the Gold Coast and various other parts of Queensland.
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