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Staying Small

Staying Small

Good things come in small packages – or so that’s how the old saying goes. But if ‘bigger is better’ which should we choose?

When it comes to running your business, no one way is correct.

Yet, the business community is under the impression that growth and speed equals success – despite two-thirds of the fastest-growing businesses ending in failure. So, why does society risk this boom and bust cycle, rather than striving for a small and lean business?

Here we discuss some of the key pros and cons of keeping your business small to help you assess whether a slender approach is right for you.


Less Overheads (More Time)

It’s no big secret that staying small means businesses can unlock significantly lower overheads than their larger-counterparts, with savings on costs such as:

  • Office space
  • Expenses
  • Resources

In fact, research from Llyods Bank suggests that, due to a reliance on informal sources, small businesses can continue to save significantly – replacing the financial costs associated with accountants and support services with business advice and favours from friends, relatives and former colleagues.

With significantly reduced overheads and the negated requirement for expensive loans or investors, it is perhaps no surprise that most small businesses start turning a profit by year two with efficiency and their lean structure to thank.

However, for what you save in overheads, you may be paying back in time.

On average, small business owners put in 75 extra days per year than the general workforce. In fact, a whopping 39% of small business owners admitted to habitually working over 60 hours a week.

So, if time is money, where do we draw the line?


High Control (High Stress)

Large companies often have thousands of employees in a number of offices – separated by time difference, distance and culture. However, with a small business, this is much less likely, increasing your ability for control.

By controlling all elements of your business, such as overseeing departments, a holistic approach can be applied to business. This may aid you in making informed decisions such as how and where your business operates and give you the ability to take a strategic focus.

However, the dark side to this ability to take control is an inability to switch off.

As a small business owner, you are the business. If you don’t deal with a problem, no one will. So how can you take a break?

Being a small business owner can be a big burden to bear alone. Failure to delegate can lead to overworking and feelings of overwhelm and stress.

On average, small business owners only take two weeks holiday per year – with 81% reporting that they make or return business calls during this time. So, is this an indication that small business owners struggle to relax or is it because they love their job?

You may be surprised to learn that smaller organisations are the happiest at work – with many owners stating that they ‘love’ their job and would do it if money were no object. That said, being a small business owner will still have a significant effect on your lifestyle.


Ability to Adapt

With size comes cumbersome red tape that slows down a business’ ability to adapt.

  • Paperwork
  • Processes
  • Hierarchy
  • Slow sign-off

These are just some of the reasons why staying small can help businesses be more nimble, adaptable and agile –positioning them perfectly to respond to change.

We have seen this recently, with the global pandemic taking the world by shock. Many small businesses quickly snapped back into action – moving operations online, changing their offering or even pivoting to take their business in a new direction. This is an unrivalled benefit that large businesses struggle to replicate well.

However, evidence shows that small businesses are less likely to take out loans, with female business owners being particularly frugal with their money. Due to this risk-adversity, although the business is set up with the strategic flexibility to adapt, a lack of resource may hinder this in action.


Happy Environment (Harder Cuts)

Instead of feeling like silos scattered with seas and sands between them, small businesses can enjoy the benefits of being one, happy team.

A study by LinkedIn found that employees working for small businesses created the most positive working environments, with 77% of employees reporting that they would recommend their employer to a friend. This is for a number of reasons:

  • Higher control over the work process
  • Sense of belonging
  • Social relationships
  • Higher job satisfaction
  • Opportunities for development
  • Ownership of their work

And, with increased productivity being a result of so many of these factors, the argument for staying small is strong. But what’s the drawback?

According to Duréndez et al, small businesses have less formal management, control measures and processes in place – often relying on a single figure-head to make decisions. In small businesses, it was found that close social relationships, for example, friends or family influences, may cause leaders to make bad business decisions, such as keeping deadwood.

In light of the last few months, it leads us to consider whether small businesses will fail due to their increased loyalty and inability to make the tough cuts that may be required to survive. We urge business owners not to make this mistake and to, instead, reframe smaller businesses as a lean and favourable option that sits on the table.


Is staying small right for you?

The answer – it depends on you.

Just remember, a smaller, more lean business doesn’t have to be a back step. It can provide a number of great benefits that make your business a more profitable, productive and enjoyable place to work.

Restructuring your business can feel like an overwhelming task. However, right now, many businesses are being forced down this route in a bid for survival.

During these testing times, the team at Crosse HR are trying to do their bit – supporting small businesses by providing free templates to help time and resources go further.

Download our free restructuring toolkit here and take your first step towards a smaller, leaner business.



7 Free Marketing Tools for Start-ups

7 Free Marketing Tools for Start-ups

Starting a business on a shoe string often means marketing falls further and further down the list of priorities, however what many forget is that when it comes to marketing tools you really can get something for nothing. There are multiple ways to get your name and brand out there with a marketing budget of £0. Here are 7 marketing tools for free.

1. Social Media

So perhaps the most obvious of all is social media and everyone is using it, however there are some lesser known features of Facebook and Twitter that many business neglect to use. The first of these features is TweetDeck the feature allows you to make the most of twitter by scheduling tweets, gaining industry insights and measuring your engagement. This will keep you constantly engaging with your followers and make sure you are getting your brand in front of potential clients at strategic times of the day.

Crosse HR Marketing Tips for Startups

2. Marketing Tools for Articles

Many start-ups will be sent requests by budding journalists for interviews. It’s easy to overlook these especially with the schedule of the average entrepreneur, however these can be worth more than you know even with little known blogs, websites or news outlets. Giving short interviews or typing up a quick email will help to increase your web presence and google rankings, and you never know the traction these outlets might gain in the future. If you haven’t had any requests then actively seek interviews and start small and specific in doing so. The big names in media are likely to move your emails directly into the bin but the smaller outlets are always looking for something unique and quirky. Have a Google and find out who is talking about the things your business does and send a pitch. The Huffington Post is a great site with a huge readership, they love small business and often approve blog posts as long as you have something new and different to talk about, submit an idea.

3. Peek

Whilst not a direct form of marketing Peek is a free tool which helps to see what users think of your website. Fill in the form on the peek website and your website will be user tested for free! the testing is done by real people and you will be provided with a video of the users experience outlining the best features and features which need improvement.

4. Newsletter/Email insights Marketing Tools

Having a monthly newsletter can help to build loyalty and gain followers and connections on your social media profiles. There a number of free tools which allow you to not only create a newsletter but also measures how many users open the email and how they interact with the content and links. One such application is IContact., this application allows you to send monthly newsletters to up to 500 contacts. Another great tool is Sidekick, this application gives insight into how your ordinary emails are interacted with; it tells you when an email is opened, how long it was viewed for and shows you their social media profiles with the same email address. Another great feature is that you are able to schedule emails strategically meaning you will be at the top of that hot lead’s inbox at the right time of the day.

A simple guide to PR for startups

5. Blogging/Medium 

Having a blog will help to build an image of your company and the best tool to do this with is Medium. The blogging site comes with an inbuilt audience and the networking tools will help your content spread across multiple media outlets. The audience is made up of bloggers, journalists and social media savy entrepreneurs. It combines all the best features of a social network and the design features of a powerful blogging system to create a painless way of getting your brand out there.

6. Youtube 

Many businesses have been slow to adopt video marketing as part of their campaign however it’s power should not be underestimated. Creating videos about your business is a great way to create a real connection with your audience and doesn’t have to be a glossy advert. Having a weekly vlog which is warm, funny and engaging is a great way to turn views into sales. The advent of youtube means the cost of video marketing has fallen dramatically and the user base speaks for itself. If your videos gain subscribers users will be presented with your videos every time you upload them.

7. SEO/HotJar

Making sure your website is search engine optimised is essential for any business, it will make sure you show up is search results and will guide you through making sure your content is relevant and easy to read. The best tool for this is HotJar, the WordPress plugin integrates seamlessly into your dashboard and will test all your content for search engine compatibility. HotJar is one of the most powerful tools available as it measures how your users are interacting with your content; what they are reading, where they pause and ‘heat maps’ of where people click and focus.

Top free marketing tips for free marketing

CrosseHR provides a number of HR services to startups including training and policy around PR. To view a full list of our services check out our solutions page, you can also follow us on Twitter and Linkedin for insights and updates!