Our last few blog posts have been about us and how we’re different than the “big guys.” Some people have written in to say that we’re being “too hard on the big guys.”
Fair point. The big guys didn’t get big on accident. They must have been doing something right to get there. Agreed. The two points we want to address though:
• At some point, these organizations got so large that serving by policy was the only path forward.
• Just because they are big, doesn’t mean they are always the best choice.
Serving By Policy
As a small and nimble firm, our policies and procedures are pretty flexible. When a customer has something new or out of the box, we tend to figure it out; regardless of what our current policies say. Larger firms can’t afford to do that. They have to create strict guardrails to keep the cost of serving customers (and managing employees) down.
I’m not going to name names, but there’s a large CRM company that we engaged with and we discovered a mistake in billing (in our favor). It took multiple phone calls and months of waiting to rectify the mistake. Why? Policies. Procedures. Checks and balances.
There’s no doubt that, at one point, these large firms were like us. Able to adapt, nimble and responsive. But at a certain scale those traits become harder to maintain. This isn’t commentary on if that’s a positive or negative. It’s just a reality. And it has to be something you consider before you engage with the big players.
Big Doesn’t Mean Right
Remember the old adage “might makes right?” For some reason, we’ve applied this philosophy to choosing partners.
When we evaluate various third parties we think “gosh, these guys are huge! They MUST be the right choice!” Again, they didn’t get big by being wrong…but their ability to adjust to new market realities is much more difficult.
Think of organizations like ships in the ocean. The Queen Elizabeth II (giant ocean cruiser) isn’t built for speed or making hard turns. Smaller organizations are more like speedboats. We can go fast (and get to top speed quickly!) and turn on a dime if need be.
Having been right at one point in time can lead to hubris that you’ll always be right. Large organizations tend to become complacent.
So the next time you’re considering a new partner, don’t decide based on size. Decide on who is the best fit for what you’re trying to accomplish. Pick the team with the right attitude and approach.