Saturday, March 10, 2012

Never Underestimate the Value of Small Business

Today's post was inspired by a brief Twitter chat. I logged onto Twitter this morning and noticed this question from Social Media guru @chrisbrogan:

Why do people who choose their business and customers choose to serve clients with little/no money?

While it was hard to decipher the context behind this question, I felt compelled to answer with:

Baskets by Bonnie @basketsbybonnie

clients with little/no money can be a valid market if your business can be the best at filling their needs.

To which Chris responded:

- er, um, but if they don't have much money, how do you survive?

My two-tweet answer:

It is possible to be profitable serving low-budget clients if you can effectively serve large numbers.
Also some clients can start small but over time become big. It depends on your business model. Don't under estimate small.

My visceral reaction to this question was as a small business owner. I remembered a situation with a vendor when I was just starting out in my business and I required extra time and expertise from my sales representative. Initially she was very helpful and then suddenly stopped communications. When I finally got hold of my sales rep, she apologized and explained her situation.

Apparently my sales person was told by the owner of the company to not waste any more time with me. Her boss had written me off as a bad prospect. She also confessed that she was not happy with her managers and was leaving soon for another job. As a result, I ended the relationship.I found a better company to replace this vendor. 

A few years later, as my business had grown, I was approached by a new sales person from my old vendor. There was nothing they could say to get me back as a customer. I have continued to do business with the better vendor for over 18 years.

There are rewards to providing your customers with great service, no matter what their size. In addition to becoming a good source for Testimonials, they tend to grow on with you!