I am a small business owner. A tiny micro enterprise owner in fact. However I am a firm believer that size isn’t everything and I pride myself on being able to tailor solutions to my clients. This has won me business over my larger competitors who aren’t, for whatever reason, as flexible as I am.
The Internet and the power of it has empowered the flexibility of small businesses allowing them to chisel out competitive advantage over the larger players in their niches. How so you may ask? Well a recent example that I had with a larger company shows you how not to do it and illustrates exactly why small businesses can be digital world beaters putting their larger competitors to shame.
Can I name names? Well lets just say a large telecommunications company (lets call them O2) rang me on Wednesday last week. The reason for the call? Well seemingly I had been on their website 7 days previous and they were contacting me now (a full week later!) to see if there was anything they could help me with.
A Distant memory
It was distant memory to be honest, why I was on the site. However, finally remembering I was looking for pricing information on the new iphone model and whether I was due an upgrade, I relayed to the person I was talking to. At this stage I did ask did she think 7 whole days between being on the site and getting a follow up call was any good. Further more when I then pushed on whether I was actually due an upgrade, she told me she couldn’t help me but could get someone to phone me back with that information….
I think only big companies can get away with this kind of “non-service”. A tiny amount of credit should be given to O2 for marrying offline and online, making the phone call to see if there was anything they could do for me regarding my browsing their website. However, that 7 days had passed and that this person was not equipped to assist me with my inquiry really made the phone call pointless. A complete waste of O2s and more importantly my time.
Embrace the internet
Now consider your own business and your interactions with your customers, potential customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. The Internet affords you the opportunity to see whats going on in near real time. Better than that, you can if you have the right tools at your disposal be able to respond in a proactive way to capture information and use it to you and your company’s betterment.
The Internet has unquestionably armed the smaller business with the ability to compete in a way that simply was impossible prior to the advent of this technology. So if you haven’t already, embrace the Internet and become a small (yet flexible and dynamic) fish in the very large digital pond.
More from Chris over at Online Visibility Solutions