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At Plant A Flag, Small Businesses Are a Big Deal.

Pieter Schouppe
Director Plant a Flag Canada
Plant a Flag Vancouver, Canada
Plant a Flag is an international marketing agency with a very clear focus: we work with small to medium-sized businesses/enterprises (SMEs). Why? The answer lies in the opportunity these businesses represent.
It’s the economy, stupid.
Bill Clinton

Okay, so we wouldn’t necessarily phrase things exactly like former US President Bill Clinton. But, this quote simplifies and emphasizes the premise that SMEs are vital for the economic backbone of society.
Consider not only that these smaller companies number 1.1 million in today’s economy, but also that they account for great numbers of employment and in actual contributed value. SMEs account for 90.3% of the private sector workforce in Canada and 30% of the total annual value created. In absolute figures, this translates into over 10.5 million jobs created and several 100 $billion in value. (Source: key small business statistics 2016, http://www.ic.gc.ca)

We certainly don’t consider ourselves math wizards, but we do believe that the power of those numbers carry inherent marketing opportunities to help smaller businesses maximize their potential.

Small Business and Big Impact.

So let’s dig a little deeper to discover why there is so much untapped potential.
The real added value delivered by SMEs actually transcends the numbers above. It’s another reason why Plant a Flag specializes in serving small businesses. They constantly push both the economy and society forward in a way that is unimaginable or unattainable for big businesses.

SMEs are our local heroes and we are their biggest fans. So what are these inherent characteristics that make SMEs so valuable? Here are our top 5:

  • They innovate. Small businesses are very flexible, operate with relatively few procedures and usually don’t have a lot of capital to rely upon. In turn, that drives creative solutions. It kickstarts smart innovations by necessity. It is no coincidence that SMEs claim 13x more patents than their big brothers.
  • They are diverse. Truly everyone can start their own business. This implies that SMEs are much more diverse in form, function and culture than bigger corporations. And the more diverse our economy is, the easier it becomes to manage the endless challenges that we, as an economy and society, are confronted with.
  • They are local. More often than not, small corporations start at a very local and small scale, which also translates into local recruiting. As a result, SMEs will create more local employment than large corporations. That creates a direct positive impact at a local level in a powerful, tangible and transparent, community-oriented way.
  • They are loyal. SMEs have a restricted operating scale, which obviously implies certain limitations. But, they are able to transform this disadvantage into a very clear plus: small businesses experience much greater loyalty because they stand much closer to (even alongside) their clients, employees and other local stakeholders.
  • They don't give up. For a lot of start-ups and other small businesses, this is not their first rodeo: a  first, second or even third business plan is rarely the final one. Small entrepreneurs have persistence, they continue learning and continue developing new initiatives, which in turn, results in even more growth.

There really is nothing ‘small’ about the impact SMEs produce. In joining forces, this group is much more influential and powerful than all multinational businesses combined. That’s exactly what we mean by the words inscripted boldly on the wall at our headquarters: The next big thing will be a lot of small ones.

The Need for Focus and Efficiency

Although this good news story about the world of small and medium-sized businesses is encouraging, all businesses come with their challenges. They range from small obstacles like an unhappy customer call, to complex and diverse problems which may threaten the organization’s future, like cash-flow issues. It’s the way in which businesses face all these challenges as an organization, that makes the difference.

Fundamentally, there are two things that will propel a business to overcome any speed-bump:

  1. Have confidence in one’s own strengths and abilities, and in the strengths and abilities of the business as a whole.

  2. Look for reinforcement where it’s most needed and where it will have the most valuable impact.

With these tools, you can maintain a clear focus thereby managing your time, energy and capital in the most efficient way possible. That’s what we consider to be an intelligent way to do business. It’s also the key to achieve and sustain impact. 

Do you wish to increase your organization’s impact and value? Plant a Flag is a specialized marketing agency with a focus on small and medium-sized organizations.

Discover more about our powerful combination of strategy and execution via pieterjan.schouppe@plantaflag.com or book a free brainstorm.

Cover illustration by the extremely talented Flore Deman. We’re always on the lookout for talented illustrators to brighten up our Labs articles. Just get in touch if you'd like to contribute!