Big Business should “Think Small” to Change their Culture

Posted: March 31, 2024
Category: Spotlight on Business

Starting your own business is not for the faint of heart. There is no template to follow that prevents owners from making mistakes when they try something new. But entrepreneurs are risk-takers by nature; their agility helps them stay focused and keep going. Small businesses can adjust to change quickly and redirect in midstream. Because the chain of command is short, the power to make critical decisions resides with a few people. Since about 85 percent of small businesses have less than 20 employees, passing the buck to the next person may not be an option. It’s no wonder that small businesses are a hub of creativity and innovation. The practices and principles that are inherent to their health and well-being are now part of their DNA.

While large corporations may attempt to ingrain similar best practices into their culture, their size and bureaucracy often prevent change from happening. Even small businesses need to periodically take a refresher course to reflect on their path to success. As organizations evolve to their next level of growth, owners should continue to apply these best practices.

Limit Bureaucracy
It can take days or weeks for someone to make decisions in a large company. There are meetings, approvals, then more meetings to second-guess the earlier approvals. In comparison, entrepreneurs connect time with money and have the flexibility to make decisions quickly. Home improvement retailers maximize their resources and are willing to form connections in the community or with vendors to develop workable solutions. An inability to streamline processes can make even the simplest tasks unwieldy and frustrating.

Think Like an Entrepreneur
Juggling limited resources motivates entrepreneurs to think of unconventional answers to their most challenging problems. They are free to explore creative ideas to improve the company’s processes or seek innovations that can fix the problem. This is how they keep their competitive edge in a rapidly changing marketplace. With limited funding, and lacking hundreds of employees, business owners are keenly aware there is little room for errors.

Be Open to New Ideas
One of the pitfalls faced by large corporations is the inability to move beyond the status quo. Consistently following established routines, no matter how counterproductive, becomes the norm. Because small businesses are structured to adapt to shifts in their environment on short notice, they must be nimble to survive. Small organizations don’t have the luxury of being tied to old ideas that hinder their progress.

Build a Culture Based on Trust
Owners need to have a team of employees with the skills and motivation to help the business grow and be successful. When businesses have a culture of trust, employees are treated with respect and their opinions matter to the company. Many independent hardware stores are family-owned businesses that hire employees from the community. Building a culture that fosters collaboration is easier to achieve for smaller establishments.

Be Agile and Move on Quicky
Today’s customer lacks patience and moves on quickly to something new. Businesses must respond to meet their ever-changing demands. Entrepreneurs must keep an eye on the ground floor to focus on the challenges in front of them. It’s easy to try innovative technology or introduce new products into your store if you are open to taking risks. You’ll find out what services and products your customers like and learn from your mistakes.

Have a Can-do Attitude
The word “can’t” is often used to kill ideas and opportunities even before they can take root. Brainstorming sessions are a great opportunity for employees to share thoughts and opinions on improving the business. These are the folks who answer customers’ questions and understand the types of products they want to purchase. Even if owners think someone has a bad idea about stocking expensive products, who knows, customers may be willing to overlook the higher price for better quality merchandise that’s not readily available.

The constraints that small businesses face are what lead owners to be creative thinkers who see opportunity in challenging times. Since these operations are not bound by the bureaucracy found in large corporations they adapt to change quickly and make decisions in real time to stay competitive.