Small Business Saturday.
Webster defines the word “small” as this:
Small: of limited size; restricted dimensions; not big; not great in value, amount, degree, extent, duration.
Say what? Seriously?
When 97.1% of every business in the US fits into the SBA “small” class, and every campaign we see on the TV, like the series American Express ran with Kristen Bell is basically saying, “Come on folks. Go to those small businesses and give them a chance. You might be surprised on what you can find, like an easy bake oven.”
How is this acceptable? My translation of this constant message is: “You’re small. People should really lower their expectations and help out these small places and at least try to buy something because it’s the right thing to do.”
This is what the media is telling us. This is what we are hearing, and not really anything else is out there to contradict it as being truth.
Except now. This has to end. We have to change this perception and be true to what “small” really is.
You are not a small business.
Nope. Not at all.
The word small is just, well, small.
You can be a multi millionaire with 2-500 employees or you can be a one person shop selling products online out of your living room. You’re all in the same bucket. Small.
If your annual revenue is more than $35 million, you might – might – earn the title “mid-size”.
(See the SBA white paper on size here)
If 97.1% of all business in the US fits in this really big bucket called “small”, then that’s a pretty big deal. Together that’s bigger than any big business combined. According to Forbes, five years ago “small” business generated more than $989 Billion in sales. Is that small?
It’s unfortunate and disheartening to think that all this time, through all of our successes and sweat we still get told we are small.
Richwood Bank is considered small business. I don’t know about your perspective on this issue, but I don’t want our customers partnering with us because they feel like they’re doing us a favor. I don’t want them thinking that they are lowering their expectations or making exceptions because they want to help the small business in their town. Those are the words painted in the small picture created by national companies like American Express.
I want our customers to feel confident they made the right choice. They have access to the best technology at the best investment and know we will do everything possible to help them succeed. I believe we’re good enough to earn customers fair and square against any “big” bank.
As a business owner – you should, too.
I say today we quit using the word “small” to describe anything about us. It’s not who we are. It’s not what we do.
We’re a big deal.
So if you’re with me, what do we call ourselves?
What do we say about who we are that explains we can go toe to toe with any competitor and win? How do we convey that we are here and know you and focus on the service and details as well as anyone in any market of any size?
First thought was the word local. What if we called ourselves “local business”?
“Local” is better than “small”, but it really just covers geographical location. We’re local because we are technically within the city limits. But we are so much more than that. And thanks to more mainstream media coining the “shop local” and tying it into “small” it’s kind of a wash of overused err.
So what else? What adjective says we aren’t a huge franchise and we have less than 500 employees and live in the same local area that we own the business in?
How about “community”?
Webster says community means:
a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.
a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists.
Sounds pretty good to me.
Our towns are growing fast. New families are coming to Union, Delaware counties and more. The growth is not slowing down.
It’s more important than ever to stand tall, be proud and be the big deal that you (we all) are. We’re a big network of dedicated businesses that support our families and communities.
Ask yourself: Am I a small business or a strong, confident community business that is successful and most of all – worth it?
It’s up to you. Let’s stop thinking small.