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Small Business - David Vs Goliath

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Small Business – David vs. Goliath!


Small business is very much the “David” against the “Goliath” of the market place. Small business says dynamic, prepared to go for it, entreprenerial, willing to challenge the status quo! Small business rocks (my humble view!) and is the foundation of most economies in the developed and developing world.

Those who have dared to establish their own businesses can feel very like the small boy in this photo! His stance says that he’s confident and able, but the task before him is gargantuan. When we look at the picture – we ask “what on earth does he have to do to win?”.

This challenge is not easy and should not be considered as such. Most business concepts have already been thought of or implemented to greater/lesser extents. So the small or new business venture is in a highly challenging market – Goliath!

Who is this Goliath guy?

  1. He’s the bank manager who won’t lend you the capital you need.
  2. He’s the venture capitalist (the guys we love to hate but need alot of the time because of 1 above) who wants 40% of your business. I should say that without these most excellent individuals/groups, most of us would never have gotten a business off the ground – but really … 40 %?
  3. He’s the government grants that none of us can get hold of.
  4. He’s the corporate giant who is in the same/similar field and who, if they bothered to look, could squash your business like a bug.
  5. He’s the people you know who say “this is never going to work”.
  6. He’s the cash-flow problems.
  7. He’s the non-paying customer.
  8. He’s the supplier who delivers late.
  9. He’s the competition.
  10. He’s …….The list is endless. Goliath pounds on the business owner/entrepreneur every day.

So how does the small business/entrepeneur beat it?

The same way as our friend does in the photo – by being faster, knowing some killer moves and being more agile. Many larger businesses are so caught up in running themselves that they forget to look at their customers and their customers needs. Their bureaucracy is an inhibitor – use that to your advantage. They can be beaten!

Many bigger businesses talk about being more customer responsive and dynamic but most simply cannot do this due to internal political constraint and over-engineered processes.

The other items in the list?

Outside of the financing options, everything else is in your power to control or manage more efficiently. With the financing options? – well those VC guys would love to talk to you!The biggest selling point in any smaller business is the team that makes it work. They are a part of your brand. They are the people that your customers have faith in.

Most importantly, keep your sense of “self” – you are your business’ greatest asset.

Have you anything else to add to the Goliath list?

Budding entrepeneur working on software product solutions for business. My background is mainly operational and senior management roles in mobile telecoms and software houses. Areas of expertise include professional services, out-sourcing, team management and general operations management. I've made the conscious decision to create my own company having spent the last 20 years learning in the corporate world. In my contributions to this forum, I will share some insights and learnings that I've picked up along the way and hopefully they will be useful to some or all!

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  • Anonymous

    Glad you liked the post. Very true point you make.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely Paul, you are right. JEdward are not the best singers but they differntiated themselves in a fun, entertaining and rib cracking way. That ‘s the strategy that they adopted and viewers stay glue to watch them perform. They never allowed negativity comments deter them because they are very focused.
    I think every jobseekers out there should learn a lesson from them and not be despair or dismayed by the number of rejection letters received each week from recruiters. We should all analyse our strengths and position ourselves to success by identifying our biggest impact to employers.

  • Nice post Paul, one factor that John & Edward have exploited is “Luck”, they were lucky that Louis got the groups, but, the key is to position yourself to exploit a break when it comes along- ie, “make your own luck”

  • Anonymous

    thanks shane – i am from the “make your own luck” school of thought

  • Excellent post Barney. Someone that is huge in this subject (and very fun to read) is Seth Godin. I have learnt a lot from him last year. I would add to the list something that is a double blade, something that would be your friend but could also be your Goliath: Innovation. Any business, big or small not looking at this, will not survive. Seth spoke last week about the “Old baby boomers” and how fast something new could turn old for not adapting to “change”

  • Thanks for the feedback Fred – appreciated. Seth is good people all right and well worth reading. Innovation – you are absolutely right – critical to continued business growth.

  • Hi Barney, I might add one’s own limiting beliefs which can often be the number obstacle to succeeding. Great post!

  • Barney – top post as per usual!
    I think the last sentence says it all – “you are your business’s greatest asset” or at least the people who make up the business are, whether you are alone or a group of well trusted, respected and competent players. A sports team manager would never neglect his/her players. Business owners must also look after their players, and step back a bit from the business itself, and let the players play their part. As you say, large organisations can lose sight of the client’s needs, this is where the small business can really promise attention to detail and quality rather than quantity.
    It can help to be a little “stealth-full” – stay under the radar for a while and quietly conduct your business, as the big boys/girls squabble amongst themselves 🙂

  • Hi Niall. Thanks and yes, that is very much an obstacle. Excellent point.

  • Thanks for the comment Elaine. Stealth is a great word to describe how to build your business without attracting attention.

  • Anonymous

    Barney, great article, don’t add to the Goliath list then the focus is on the problems, compile a David list then you have all the positives to focus on.

    I think we all know what is out there, we have to turn the focus on to what is INSIDE. As Anthony Robbins says Unleash Your Inner Giant.

    To hell with the big boys, play with your own toys !

  • Hi Imelda. A David list – I like it! Going to do that myself – great idea

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