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Why David Beats Goliath - Support Your Local Business

In the world of business, is the smaller, quicker, local business vendor more capable of delivering successful results than the big industry leader? Goliath beware of David...

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.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

East side May 17, 2012 at 12:18 AM
The issue with small business on the island is that the owners simply don't get it. I can get just about anything less expensive off the island and without the island attitude - what is that? If I know you, then your in, if I don't, then you get the third degree. As the article states, some things do come in small packages but then again, there is nothing wrong with big box stores, especially on the island. They are the ones that usually last the longest (ie. hardware stores, food stores, book stores).
Christopher Matthews May 17, 2012 at 12:52 AM
I think your points are simple and clear and and can be validated by other small businesses that have moved away from large vendors only to find better service and solutions. Having personally worked for a large payroll vendor I found it very easy to take away customers from other large payroll providers but next to impossible to take a client away from a small local business because of the superior service they were receiving.
Kyle Kauss May 17, 2012 at 02:01 AM
I do not always subscribe to the small business idea because I have seen some of the small business' not being as good. My favorite part of the article though is that if you get the right owner you are likely getting the right small local business. I worked with this small business owner when he was the salesperson working hard to support the big company. Even back then he made it his business to keep the promise and keep the client happy, I would strongly consider David when faced with this choice.
Ken May 17, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Good article Brian. I have worked with both large Co's and small businesses and from my experience it seems that small business for the most part have an extra edge in added flexibility. Service is more hands on, commitments & promises are easier kept, and communication within the organization is more efficient/streamlined.
Travis Miller May 18, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Very Good Article. Having worked for both large and small firms I agree. Additionally, smaller firms in my opinion are willing to got that extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction.

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