Did you know that 98.6 percent of the companies in Florida are small businesses with less than 12 employees? Small businesses rock the state and, on a broader scale, make up the largest number of companies in the United States.
When I was a boy back in the ’50s and ’60s, the Fortune 500 companies dominated the whole corporate culture of our country. It was common to live in a neighborhood and have several parents working at the same large company. In Miami-Dade County we used to have large companies like Eastern Airlines, Knight Ridder Newspapers and Southeast bank, to name a few. These companies no longer exist. They have been replaced by smaller owner-occupied companies that are literally rebuilding the employment ranks of our nation.
Why have smaller business evolved to be the most significant economic engine in Florida and indeed our nation? The answer is in the competitive advantage a small business has over a larger business. Here is a list of 20 competitive advantages normally found in a small owner/occupied business.
• Less overhead – cuts rent, telephone, utilities and other overhead expenses.
• Fewer employees – cuts health insurance costs, social security payments, etc.
• Adapt to “Change” faster – able to respond faster to the changes in the marketplace.
• Outsources better – leverages the outsourcing features of the Internet better.
• Looks and acts like a big company – the Internet has leveled the competitive field between big and small companies.
• Better customer service – the owner/operator is often the primary customer service contact.
• Faster response time – dos not have levels of management getting in the way of responding to the needs of clients or the marketplace.
• Greater incentives – the owner/operator has much more at stake than some employee in a large company.
• Pride – the owner/operator has more pride in his company than some employee in a large company.
• Happier clients – clients love people answering the telephone when they call and knowing that an owner/operator is watching out to get their order correct.
So, what is the point of this article? If you are a small business, start flexing your competitive advantage muscles and grow, grow, grow. Small businesses collectively are big business. This community newspaper and this author are excited about the Small Business Industry and in the coming months we will offer information, provide business tips, advocate on your behalf, showcase successful small businesses and just make sure our readers know just how special small businesses are to the economic life of Miami-Dade County.
Gene Gutierrez is a regular contributor to this newspaper. He may be contacted by calling 305-373-1919 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.