Custom Equipment Company isn’t a fortune 500 Company, and I would guess those of you reading this aren’t either. And most of us never will be. But, together, small businesses can certainly make an impact like that of the fortune 500’s, but only if we unite.
Why should Small Businesses Unite?
The question of ‘why’ is always at the top of the list for any small business group. When someone says, “We need this product.” The correct response is and should always be, “Why?” but more politely, like, “Could you explain what we need that for?” Often, the question ‘why’ is met with hostility as though you don’t trust an opinion or thought. When people question my motive behind asking ‘why’, I always say, “Convincing me is easy, but I have to convince others and they won’t be swayed without details backed by facts.”
But ultimately, the question ‘why’ shouldn’t be offensive because it means you’re giving someone the chance to convince you. So, why should we unite? Because we are stronger together. Check these facts…
- In 2019, the Small Business Administration said there are nearly 31 million small businesses in the U.S.!! This accounts for 99.9 percent of all U.S. businesses! That means when Big Business, that .01%, are in control, the other 99.9% has to just be quiet and fall into line…
- When pulled together, Small Businesses make up almost 50% of the local and national workforce.
- Small Business Administration said small businesses generate 44% of the United States’ economic activity as polled from 1998 to 2014
- In 2000, 15% to 20% of small companies became medium or large companies every year. Today, that number is now closer to 6%
Big businesses can do so much on their own. Small businesses don’t have that luxury. That’s why we form Small Business Associations and Coalitions. We need to join together so that we can have the same sway as a large company without being large ourselves.
How does this look?
This could take form in numerous ways, including those I just mentioned. But one of the best ways for something like this to form is with partnerships.
I think the best representation of this is what a healthy friendship looks like. The ‘I rub your back, you rub mine,” approach. And in a business model, that can be tough, but it works out better for all of us as long as we are all in it for the whole. For example, Custom Equipment Company is always looking for new partners over new customers. A customer is just someone we sell to, but a partner is someone we serve and are, in return, served by. Like one of our local manufacturers who we team with on a regular basis. Sure, the prices may be 6-8% higher than the price we can get from a larger company out of state. But this local company is also able to cut lead times and have face to face meetings (when Covid isn’t stalling that). They are also a part of the community. like we are, and together, we cover a wider area so when they get leads, they send them to us and in turn we keep our business with them.
It’s all about funneling that money through as many small businesses as possible and only using the larger manufacturers when we absolutely need to. This is true with Insurance Companies, Vendors, Marketing Teams and beyond. We are stronger together, so start building those relationships and see how wide the road opens for small businesses when they unite!
What are the Setbacks?
I would be dishonest if I pretended that there were no setbacks to joining with other small businesses in partnership with one another. These are wide ranging and could be mild or self-deprecating. But as long as someone is watching for the signs, they should be easily avoided.
- You have to be able to trust your partners.
- Your partners, in turn, have to be able to trust you
Trust in any partnership is the key to success. If one side or the other hurts or hinders that trust, both sides suffer. To be united means we focus on each others’ needs and work together towards a brighter tomorrow for all of us!
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