Reasons Why Bigger Isn’t Always Better
This article outlines several reasons why staying small can benefit not only the business itself but also its customers. Smaller businesses have more efficient communication, higher quality service, active CEOs, quicker reaction time, greater income, greater project variety, and lower operating costs. A smaller size allows businesses to research and build relationships with customers without interfering with the efficiency of the business.
The response is always of surprise and disbelief when I tell a client that our small branding & design firm has no plans for becoming a large & design firm with several branches. But as I watch their eyes glaze over I have to empathize with their response. We’re all well aware that in almost every business industry the recipe for a successful year often leans towards increased revenue and more employees. But for those of you that are on the fence about whether your business should stay small or whether it should take that giant leap forward towards global dominance, a bigger storefront, and possibly being deeper in debt, the following is a brief list of reasons why we decided that for us, smaller is better.
Quick response time
For one thing, our clients have told us that they appreciate the level of responsiveness a small firm can deliver. Our business is able to operate with just one level of leadership. This single degree of separation means that communication between us and our clients are efficient and non repetitive. Being able to deal with principal persons involved tends to greatly reduce wasted energy for all those involved.
The smaller project goes to the new guy
Having their project handled by a junior consultant or designer just because the clients’ smaller budget didn’t justify a more experienced colleague, is another complaint that we’ve heard. This scenario unfortunately takes place more often than not and therefore often leads to problems as varying as the incorrect sizing of images, to the wrong information passed, and even bad design layouts or poorly planned strategies. Theses are unnecessary obstacles to a successful project and will wreak havoc on brand confidence. In smaller businesses, people follow through and don’t pass off the work to more junior employees because there aren’t any.
Having more control
Being small also allows me to be more involved with my firm’s business, from the press releases, to brand development, to industry research, to the handling of a specific project, to being able to spend time writing articles such as this one. Working in a smaller business also means that the client doesn’t have to fight with so many layers of approval for tasks large and small. The late night revisions are easier to bear.
Our firm believes in being proactive, which is to say that we strive to foresee problems before they arise in a project. If an unforeseen problem is able to slip by us, being smaller allows us to react quickly. More time is also available for research and meeting with the clients. This ability to be constantly available is a greatly appreciated asset that our firm is able to offer all of our clients because we are smaller.
Smaller is not poorer
Being smaller does not mean we’re poorer. Because we are able to react quickly to problems, have more time for research, more time for brainstorming, more time for planning, are capable of meetings with clients more often, and are willing to work through several revisions. It’s also very easy for us to be able to demonstrate what we’re worth. This often equates to being paid well and just as important, if not more, means being paid on time.
Variety is the spice of life
Being able to work with a variety of projects is another perk to working in a small firm. The ability to be more selective of clients because of the projects they have to offer, as opposed to having to choose a project because of its price tag, brings with it a large amount of freedom that working in a larger firm would not. As a result, often you never know what you’ll be working on next. Getting “burned out” because your business does the same type of projects from season to season due to the price tags they carry, can be extremely taxing to a business’ creative process.
I get to play
This last paragraph brings up my last two points for staying small. With less people comes less overhead. Less overhead means more money for our firm to: keep up with current technology, be a part of developing best practices within our industry, stay in touch with past and current clients, and best of all, pay ourselves more.
My last point is simple. As a fellow designer once said, “because I work for a small design firm, I actually get to design”.
John Bloise is the President/CEO for Digital Architectures, Inc., an international strategic branding & design firm, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Our creative core consists of members with backgrounds stemming from federal, military and corporate surroundings.
He can be reached via email at
or telephone him at (719)213-6262.