When people hear the term “small business”, there’s a certain amount of trepidation that comes with it. Why is the business small, why hasn’t it expanded? Is the whole business just one guy sat in his spare room on his laptop? There are many misconceptions about what running a small business actually means – and given the fact that 96% of all private UK companies are micro-businesses that employ 9 people or less, it’s probably time to eradicate the misunderstanding.
We’re a culture of people obsessed with freedom and being our own boss, with bonofide adults with full time jobs and mouths to feed leaving it all in the lurch to venture off on their own. Getting yourself years of education, interviewing alongside the countries best minds and moving your way up through the ranks to become CEO of the country’s biggest accountancy firm just isn’t a path that the majority of people eager for success are lucky enough to find themselves on these days – it’s all about being self-employed.
There were almost 350,000 business start ups in 2013, Unfortunately, in the same year, there were almost 240,000 businesses that were forced to close down. Calculations from those numbers mean that, if we’re to to take the average, around 70% of businesses will fail at some point – 33% in their first year, 50% in the third year, and more as the years tick by. However, the determined few who manage to pull their businesses through thick and thin have something to boast about.
Smaller businesses have lower overheads – which means they don’t need a giant office in the centre of Leeds that charges a kidney per month in rent, they’re not paying a fortune in employee salaries, and there’s no shareholders to impress. They can put their money and resources into the customer’s needs.
It’s likely that the business was started by one person or a small team with very little funding – to build that into a functioning business model takes an untold amount of time and dedication, often at the personal and monetary expense of the people driving it. This venture is literally the most important thing in their life, and a business is nothing without clientèle – ergo, as a paying consumer, you are their highest priority on a very personal level. That brings a tangible level of care that spreads throughout every vein of the client-company relationship.
In our experience, people appreciate that level of intimacy. They like to know that if they need to get hold of someone outside of office hours, they can…That if the deadline of their latest video project needs bringing forward, you’ll do your absolute best to meet it. Our clients in particular seem to enjoy the fact that they’re not paying astronomical prices for their videos – squashing the notion that smaller businesses need to charge more for their services because they don’t have the same volume coming through the door as the industry giants. That may be true in some circles, but it certainly isn’t true for video production. We can make affordable videos because our resources go into your service – we don’t add an extra 150% onto your quote to feed our pockets.
To share a recent tale of ours, we ordered some printed Stada Media mugs from a very well known printing company. They were quick to arrive, but failed to impress. Upon contacting the company to complain about the printing quality, we were assured we’d be receiving some better mugs absolutely free of charge. What ended up arriving was more mugs of the same ilk that had clearly been printed in exactly the same way – and now every sales email received from them is swiftly put in the trash folder. That isn’t saying that every nation-wide company won’t give you the quality or service you’re paying for, but it is an example of how bigger doesn’t always mean better.
We’re currently having some Stada Media tshirts and hoodies made up – we learnt our lesson, and went with a sole trader who undercut the big guys on price, quality and delivery time. They’ve even sent us pictures of the finished product fresh from printing and offered to hand deliver it to us. Service like that just can’t be matched. Stada Media was once one guy with some camera gear and a laptop – so we like to support those who are in the same boat.
The point is, don’t be put off by the size of a business.The person on the other end of the phone will work their absolute hardest to please you – their livelihood depends on it. That isn’t saying that you won’t come across some disappointments, but that’s the same with anything. Find the flowers among the weeds, and stick with them.