Here’s a Tom Peters touch down on my small business tarmac. I expected a thud; in fact it was darn smooth!
Several friends of mine asked this question “how will you do business in the same space as the Big Four and Small Hundreds (of Investment Banks) ?”. I pretend not to hear. As Tom says, “it was a lark”. It indeed has been. But what kept me going was that I never realized it. Heck, I didn’t even think about it. Ignorance has been my bliss. I kept saying to myself “If something is wrong, fix it if you can” and plodded on.
So here I am. Trying to balance my scorecard with Tom’s list of “must-do” for the small guy.
Niche aimed – Of course. I focus on deals between $2 MM – $25MM. That’s crumbs for Big Four.
Never attack the monsters head on – Where’s the question? Look at my deal size. I slink under their radar.
Dramatically different – Indeed yes. Big Four can’t afford to invest so much time on a single client as I do. They have big overheads to cross out. I run lean. They work with templates from earlier deal; I cast a new mold each time. So it’s a refreshing experience client has with me. Much more intimate. (Clients say this quite often)
Compete on Value, Experience, Intimacy. Not on Price – Ditto. I quote depending on the extent of my involvement, stage of the deal and the level of client’s state of preparedness. Clients that tried competition have come back and they vouch for it. I say thanks.
Emotional Bond with Clients, Vendors – How else do you think I survived?
Hands on, Emotional leadership – Hands on is my USP; Got to work more on the emotional front though.
A Community star – Most deals come thro local channel partners in my network, retaining the dash of local flavor.
Incredible experience – I got that for a comment early this saturday from a few of my clients as I was routinely following up on my last few deals with them. Clients like to learn that they are the first thing on my mind as I wake up.
DESIGN! – Had it not been for the absence of pattern, I would not have had a differentiator. My clients see that everyday.
Employer of Choice – Today I hire talent whenever I need them. It worked fine. If I get the kind of talent I am looking for (with a raging fire to grow the business, not just to earn a packet), I would swell them for sure.
Sophisticated use of information technology – Telling me?
Web-power – Duh! Nothing sells cheaper.
Innovative – My everyday diet. Other option is death of business.
Branding – I need to work on this. Guess I can use some PR techniques. Will storm it out with Trevor and my PR guy.
Focus on women-as-clients – Great tip, Tom. I’ll take that and see where it gets.
Excellence – Nothing else gives me the right to exist.
How do I stack up…? Not bad. To that, I’d like to add proactive proprietary research that I voluntarily undertake on the back of my understanding of client’s business and the competition watch I keep for them all the time. Customer delight, right?
Tom should be glad, I guess !