- Isaac Sandoval
Why Buy From a Smaller Company?
Years ago, I went to Moldova - a small, third-world country stuck between Ukraine and Romania. Needless to say the diet there was limited, mostly consisting of these pancake like breads and soup. Being an American, I was used to eating large meals in abundance so my stomach suffered a severe setback.
After leaving Moldova, I flew into Berlin, Germany for a night, and while walking to my hotel (after passing several grimy looking hot dog stands) I smelled the most savory smell coming from a large, ritzy restaurant across the street. My mouth immediately watered (as did my eyes) as I pushed through its revolving doors.
The waiter came to my table for my order and I pointed to the table next to me and said, "I'll have whatever she is eating." Of course, I couldn't understand the German menu so all I could do was point out these huge, savory drumsticks this lady was dining on. I felt like I had forgotten the taste of chicken.
As my plate was placed in front of me, I gently picked up the chicken leg like it was a bar of Aztec gold and slowly bit into its perfectly seasoned skin. Yes, my eyes were closed. I bit down, and then....
Poof! The chicken leg collapsed like a deflated balloon; falling in pieces onto my plate. I stared in shock trying to comprehend what joke was being played on me. I looked around for the candid camera. I looked at my friend sitting across from me. And then I looked back down at my plate and realized what had happened. These chicken legs weren't American. No, these were chicken legs that had been "de-meated" and stuffed with dressing.
My experience that day in Germany reminds me of the all-too-famous axiom, "Never judge a book by its cover." I passed all of those grimy hot dog stands (which were probably delicious) for a fancy restaurant that brought me a product stuffed with air.
That can be our experience a lot of times when we purchase products from large companies that have a beautiful, large building, glamorous content, and high-volume. That is not say their product isn't "good," but we may not receive what we were expecting, or even wanting. Sometimes, when we try and resolve our issues with these companies we are met with a robot directing our calls to other robots that lead us down this rabbit trail of call transfers until we finally give up. Or we are met with an operator saying, "I'm sorry, but..."
Smaller companies offer a more personal connection to the customer that large companies are just not able to provide. Personal relationships between customers and company are able to be nurtured and developed, whereas large companies have many departments and layers that prevent any times of interpersonal relationship. Forget even trying to get in contact with the owner/CEO without talking to 5 different representatives. Customers want to feel understood. They want their needs met on an individual basis. They want to know that even though they are one of many customers, they are high-value and treated as such.
With a smaller company, customer needs can not only be handled by the individual they want, but they can be handled in a timely and efficient manner.
Small companies tend to be quicker; more flexible. Purchased products can be made according to customer specifications, and delivered on the customer's time-frame. Large companies often have various departments involved with production; and a lot of times, those departments can slow down production in the tangle of bureaucracy.
Lastly, smaller companies offer a better price consideration for the customer. Now, this isn't always the case; but in most instances, large companies will set the prices of their products higher to take advantage of the consumer perception that larger companies offer a better quality. With a small company, prices can often be negotiated and set lower because they need the customer's business. Driving away customers for small businesses is a death sentence due to the fact that they may not have the client base large companies have to sustain them.
Simply put, smaller companies care more about the individual customer instead of the overall market. They care more because they are able to. As a consumer, be confident that larger doesn't always mean better quality. Sometimes, as is the case with designer companies, smaller means better quality - quality products, quality service, and quality prices.