Big companies are getting bigger. Barely a day goes by without some multinational being in the news about buying another.
It’s not surprising. It’s what big companies do.
If you’re a big company, then you’re under a ton of pressure to keep performing – over and over again. Sales for the quarter have to be better than this time last year. New products to be launched and new markets to be found. Stakeholders and/or shareholders demand nothing less.
But big companies have had their time in the sun. Today, being a small company is where it’s at.
I don’t mean that Apple, or Walmart, or Coca-Cola are going to go bust tomorrow. I mean that small companies are outmaneuvering big companies because (now) they can.
Publishing a magazine used to be a costly, elaborate and risky venture. You needed tech staff, a bunch of Macs and expensive software. You had to produce the pages in multiples of 4, optimize the pages for the printing process (what used to be called “prepress”) then get them printed, trimmed, bound and distributed. Publishing a magazine only made financial sense if you could sell lots of (physical) copies (and lots of advertising).
Today, you don’t need to be Time Inc., or Hachette, or Random House to be a publisher. The cost of entry is an internet connection.
The problem with big companies is their size.
Small companies have the flexibility to react to market changes and capitalize on opportunities without having to go through 27 levels of bureaucracy and a Board-level vote. Small companies innovate, changing the way that we think about finding a place to stay when we’re away from home (Airbnb), or storing/sharing our files with others (DropBox). Why? Because they have to.
Small companies focus on customer relations – in not being an anonynous, faceless corporate façade. Small companies get the business because they’re good, not because they’re big.
Forget the multinational conglomerates with their “one size fits all” mentality. A Big Mac, or iPad, or Diet Coke is the same no matter where you buy it.
And that’s the problem.