Selecting the right tradesman, payroll provider, consulting firm or the like can be a critical business decision. Choosing the brand name service or the IBM of computers offers some assurances. The level of customer service, technology, commitment to a successful product deployment, and more, should point to the big, brand name, industry leader, but is it really the right decision?
The alternative may be the local, neighborhood vendor. The founders of the local company are likely former employees of the “industry leader.” These founders were bold enough to strike it out on their own because they knew they could provide a better service or product. Perhaps this new kid on the block had the guts to challenge their industry’s conventional wisdom and is in fact providing a better product.
As you consider a local business, you may be negotiating with the owner of a company who can make commitments and has the ability to ensure that promises are met. The “industry leader” will likely have you meet with their “newly assigned” sales representative. This big company sales rep could easily be reassigned or leave the company shortly after you have signed their contract (who was it that made us those promises when we signed on?).
Wall Street’s big businesses can become obsessively focused on financial expectations. This focus often leads to driving workforce efficiency within key divisions like customer service. If you are reading between the lines, this means moving customer service to India or trying to get product support from an automated phone recording. By contrast, the local business’s founding core principle is often to provide the best customer service. Providing better, local, person to person customer service lends to the development of personal relationships where greater accountability and trust can be found.
The new, smaller, local vendor often possesses the latest technology enabling them to deliver a better service. By comparison, long time industry leaders are often held hostage by old legacy technology that was cutting edge 20 years ago and too expensive to replace today.
There is much to weigh when considering your local vendor. One should never assume local or your Orange County neighborhood business is better. But after careful analysis, the best vendor for your business may be the local vendor.
Choosing the industry leading payroll provider, HR software provider, consulting firm, etc… is sometimes viewed as “driving the Cadillac”. In reality, leveraging the local company is “driving the Cadillac” with better customer service, technology and commitment to your deliverables.