Small Business Can Always Beat Big Business
Small business can always beat big business; or using the story we are all familiar with, David will always beat Goliath.
The story in the Old Testament and specifically the first book of Samuel includes the encounter between David who later became King David and how he was able to kill Goliath is familiar to almost everyone.
The story explains that David arrived at the battlefield to find the troops of Israel were being taunted and cowered by the Philistine army and in particular one man called Goliath. David was small in stature yet Goliath was some nine feet tall and supposedly invincible. The story goes on to say that David was a simple shepherd with only a simple weapon of a sling shot while Goliath was a well trained and dominating warrior with spear and shield who no one could defeat.
Malcolm Gladwell in his new book interestingly called ‘David and Goliath’ argues with conviction and simplicity that Goliath stood no chance amongst David as everything was in David’s favor. What was in David’s favor? For a start, David had a sling shot or as Gladwell calls it, new technology. There was no sword and shield for a close up encounter with Goliath as David would have been crushed. Additionally, David chose to fight Goliath using his strengths which was his ability to use the slingshot which Goliath had nothing in his armory to defend himself against.
What caught my attention in Gladwell’s book was that his thinking is so easy to apply to small business owners and how and why they succeed. Here are a few reasons why.
Most cultures love the story about the underdogs and how they can win. If you own a small business or plan to become a small business owner, society is rooting for you.
Why can some people take a disadvantage and turn it to their advantage? Dyslexia is not a common ailment in society but it’s generally agreed that those that have dyslexia have a severe disability that will prevent them from achieving at the highest level. Apparently nobody told Richard Branson, the Chairman of all things Virgin be it Virgin Airlines, Virgin Records, Virgin Mobile etc. John Chambers is the CEO of Cisco Systems and has dyslexia. I think you’d agree that Cisco is a very impressive company. What about David Boies who also had dyslexia?
You may be tempted to ask – who is David Boies? Well David Boies, and yes, he does have dyslexia, is an attorney. David Boies is no ordinary attorney. He was asked by Al Gore when he was trying to win the US Presidency in 2,000 to stand and argue before the US Supreme Court why his case was correct about the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. What’s even more interesting is that David Boies reads about one book a year because of his dyslexia. Surely you cannot stand before the Justices of the highest court in the United States and argue a legal case if you cannot read? Apparently you can but what’s more apparent is that to do it, and do it well you need to find a solution to being dyslexic which David Boies did by developing two simple but incredible skills. The two skills were listening intensely and developing a great memory. Because David Boies could not read he would prepare for his legal cases but then when he was in court, he would ask a series of long and intense questions. Each question would build and take his case somewhere but what enabled him to achieve at such a high level was then being able to say to a person he was examining or cross examining on the stand, you’ve just said so and so but 3 days ago when I asked you this and this you said this which contradicts what you just said.
What does all this tell us? A small business has its own strengths and advantages that set it up for success. For example, its strengths are its ability to make decisions quickly, to adapt with speed as the market evolves and changes, build alliances with other small businesses that don’t compete for its products and services and offer products the larger businesses are unable to offer. Going back to the analogy with David and Goliath, use new technology such as a slingshot as a competitive advantage.
If you own a business are you using your strengths to your advantage? If you’re not sure, do a SWOT analysis or Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threat analysis to find out where you need to be. If you are still not sure, ask your customers. Like David versus Goliath, business is about winning. Be a winner by using your strengths but make sure you know what they are.
Are you ready to sell your business and move to your next challenge? Would you like to know the value of your business? How about own and operate your own franchise? If you would like more information please visit my webpage Rogerson Business Services. If you would like more immediate help you are welcome to send an email to Andrew Rogerson or give me a call on 916 570-2674.