Long Live the Small Business!
In an industry that seems to constantly cannibalize itself, it may seem as though hope for small business longevity in the world of wholesale distribution is fading fast. Worry not! Small businesses still have a lot of clout in the industry, and in spite of giants like AmazonSupply threatening the Mom-and-Pop-shop’s livelihood, the small business is as strong as ever.
This week is National Small Business Week, and in celebration of the small businesses that keep our industry thriving, here are some stats to prove that “small” does not necessarily mean weak or powerless!
- 99% of businesses in the United States have less than 500 employees
- Nearly 2/3 of U.S. businesses have fewer than four employees
- Only 10% have more than 20 employees
In Distribution, Size Doesn’t Always Matter
From an article published May 7th on Forbes.com about the growing threat of AmazonSupply, Amazon’s Wholesale Slaughter: Jeff Bezos’ $8 Trillion B2B Bet:
Of America’s 35,000 distributors, almost all are regional, family-run companies pulling in annual revenues of $50 million or less, and only 160 have more than $1 billion in sales annually.
The article goes on to discuss the online behemoth’s offering of 2.2 million SKUs, potential Sunday delivery in select markets, and fast and easy online fulfillment capabilities. But…
- Do they offer personalized attention to their customers, as knowledgeable solutions providers?
- Do they have the ability to empower their sales reps with entrepreneurial decision-making abilities?
- Are they able to have close, personal relationships with their customers?
Some might argue they cannot- at least, not nearly as well as a smaller distributor can.
Running a small business requires a certain degree of grit and tenacity, and a multi-tasking staff that is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. There is a level of passion, and determination that goes along with the culture of a smaller business, especially in distribution when the fight is always on to retain customers and remain competitive.
Celebrating Small Business Culture
From an article comparing the differences between small and large businesses in Inc. Magazine,
Well-managed smaller companies have long proven themselves to be very adept at anticipating market trends, capitalizing on new technologies, and using their lean structures to outpace larger companies.
In short, the decisions happen faster when there isn’t the extended chain of bureaucracies that often hinder the speed of innovation in larger companies.
Smaller distributors are also often family-owned through many generations. With a close-knit group of dedicated employees, and a loyal group of long-time customers, it’s undeniable that a warm company culture is what gives a small business a heart.
In an industry where acquisitions and mergers of customers and vendors alike happens on a daily basis, it’s that much more important to truly celebrate Small Business Week this year. I think distributors and end-users alike should all be grateful that in an increasingly globalized and corporate economy, the small business still thrives.© Copyright 2014 Amy Ullsperger, All rights Reserved. Written For: DSR Sales Support Blog