Large and small businesses make natural partners

Elissa Dennis
28th July 2021
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Large animals like rhinos or crocodiles are top of the food chain. From their lofty position, they command their surroundings, masters of their own destiny. They get the pick of the best feeding areas; the right conditions to thrive. However, these titans of nature understand they need the help of smaller animals to keep themselves fit and healthy, maintaining their position at the top. For example, Egyptian plovers pick the left-over food out of crocodiles’ mouths preventing their teeth from decaying. Oxpeckers eat ticks and other parasites off rhinos’ skin reducing the risk of infection.

Multinational organisations can also benefit from having their own plovers or oxpeckers. Smaller, nimble organisations that can provide a crucial service that is of benefit to both parties. Bringing two enterprises together of different sizes, backgrounds and experience can prove to be a dynamic combination and create the perfect partnership. Here’s just a few of the benefits.

Increased agility and flexibility

Making dramatic changes within large organisations can be very difficult. Getting such large beasts to alter their direction of travel can be challenging when there are so many vested interests and stakeholders that need to agree. Making that change by using a product or services from a smaller company that can respond rapidly can be a much more efficient and effective approach. Without layers of reporting lines to negotiate through, communication is often with senior managers who have the authority to act and implement what’s needed extremely quickly. Change directed through an expert in a particular niche can also be easier to accept and embrace.

Centre of attention

Large organisations are likely to be working with hundreds of different customers simultaneously. Some of these customers will be larger than others, but their attention will be divided in many different directions. The quality of the service they provide is often down to the skills and expertise of the accounts team that is assigned. While the overall organisation may have an impressive track record and inspirational leaders, these are not likely to be the people who will be at the coal face dealing with the day to day running of the account. In contrast, large organisations that work with small suppliers are likely to be right at the top of the food chain. They can expect to deal with the best employees, get the most attention and have their requests listened to and acted upon quickly. Their influence is magnified, and they have power to create something that is completely tailored to their requirements. They will always be at the head of the queue when it comes to developments and innovations, receiving an enhanced product or service.

Product ahead of reputation

Large companies do not have a monopoly on the best products or services. Certainly, in our field of HR Tech, numerous stat-ups have disrupted the market bringing a fresh approach and shaking up old attitudes. They are taking their cue from B2C companies and offering solutions to employers that employees can easily identify with as they mirror the user experience of their own online or social media activity. These tools can help large employers to engage more effectively with their employees, taking advantage of new technology to create a refreshed dialogue and connection with their workforce. More established, larger players in the market undoubtedly still have something to offer, but it’s worth larger organisations looking beyond the obvious to find the right product that truly fits their needs. It is often seen as the safe option to go with the solid reputation of a larger supplier but following the crowd could mean missing out on an innovation that can provide real competitive advantage and settling for something that is merely good rather than great.

Of course, when two entities are so different there may be some bumps to iron out in the partnership. Something that takes a small company a few hours to implement, may take a large business days, weeks or even months to resolve. Conversely staff rotas or cash flow may be major headaches for small organisations, while only a minor concern for their larger counterparts. It’s important that any differences like these are recognised early in the relationship so plans can be put in place to mitigate their effect. Once working on the same page, large and small organisations really can be the perfect match.