The vast majority of people have this barrier when they consider companies, very distinctly separating small-to-medium businesses from large companies that employ thousands of people. And for most of the time, it makes sense not to put them in the same conversation.

However, in the modern world of business, it has become more possible than ever before for small companies to take on the big guys, at least to a certain extent. Startups have been disrupting large corporations for years, but it is just one of the ways this happens today.

You see it everywhere, if you know where to look.

Affordable Marketing

When we used to talk marketing, things were very simple – small companies were relegated to (in some cases very) local media, limited air time and barebones exposure while large companies could afford national TV and newspaper, as well as exposure that could only be bankrolled by companies with millions in annual revenue.

With the advent of digital marketing, the field has leveled spectacularly. It costs the same to put up a fun Twitter video regardless of whether you are a local bed and breakfast or if you are a large chain. As long as you are inventive and creative, there is a good chance that your marketing will outperform the big guys.

Access to Financing

One of the biggest factors in the rise of the modern startup ecosystem is the variety of funding options that have changed the entire way people do business. When is the last time you heard of a startup that went to a bank for a loan. Their entire lifecycles are based on venture capital funding, crowdfunding and other types of financing that were unavailable to small companies just two decades ago.

The same is true for your more traditional small businesses that are no longer put at the mercy of their local banks. With companies like ALC Commercial and similar online lenders around the world, small business owners can nowadays get quick loans that will get them on their feet.

Above everything else, it is about choice, really. Choice that smaller companies never had before.

Limitless Tools

When business software started spreading like wildfire as computers entered workplaces, not all companies could afford the top of the line solutions. These solutions had to be installed on every machine separately and companies had to spend humongous amounts of money to equip their computers with the latest tools.

Nowadays, thanks to the rise of the Software-as-a-Service model that the vast majority of business software developers employ nowadays, even the smallest companies can access as much of the software as they will need without breaking the bank.

This may not seem like much, but if you were to tell a small 20-people company from 20 years ago that they would be able to use all the software that major corporations used, they would tell you this is madness.

All the Data

The whole data and business analytics thing could have been a part of the pervious part of the article, but it is so important that it deserved its own section. Namely, small companies can nowadays get access to the same data sets and analytical tools that the world’s largest companies do.

This is simply mind-boggling. Just 15 or 20 years ago, a data analytics department was a thing reserved only for the largest companies that operate with budgets which make heads explode.

The reason why this is so important is that small companies can nowadays make decisions that will be as informed and as data-based as those made by world’s largest corporation. No longer do SMB owners have to wonder where the market is going, how they should modify their budget or their business model and so on.

The data and business analytics tools are here. All it takes is a bit of expertise (which can be hard to come by, by the way), a lot of will and even more hard work.

Global Reach

The web has made the world an infinitely smaller place. On one hand, this has made it more difficult on small companies as their purview is being invaded by giant corporations who can wreak havoc with their lower prices and whatnot.

However, web has also given an incredible global reach to companies that never could dream of it before the internet.

For example, let’s imagine that you are an Australian company that develops some kind of an accounting software. Nowadays, you can approach potential clients from all over the world and put up a fight against the biggest companies on level terms. You can also hire people half the planet away, just as if they lived in your neighborhood. Your ads can reach people in Alaska the same way they are reached by the largest accounting software developers.

This global reach is unprecedented and something that really gives the small company a fighting chance.

Closing Word

Do not get us wrong, small companies are still faced by an uphill battle, but it is become easier and easier. We can never be certain about how everything will turn out, but small companies (if run smartly) have more in their arsenal than ever before.


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James D. Burbank has spent more than 15 years in marketing, working with small businesses in some of world's most exotic markets. He is currently spending time between Europe and Australia, blogging about business.

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