Making a choice to serve small business retailers was easy for me. This specific business space is one in which I am comfortable, one in which I have faith and trust.
While other software developers and software entrepreneurs are nervous and concerned about size, I am not. To me, small is beautiful. Small is convenient, happy, engaged and empowering.
I have been in the small business software space for thirty years, focused solely on serving retailers of a certain size – usually independently owned stores with no more than, say, ten stores in a group and probably staying away from franchise businesses.
So, why do I like smaller retailers so much to keep my company focused on small rather than big? Does size really matter to a software company or to any company for that matter?
This is a question we confronted recently in a business review where we took some time for introspection about who we are, what we do and why we do what we do.
We genuinely and wholeheartedly believe in small business. Unlike politicians and others who pay lip service to the category, our belief is heart felt.
Smaller retailers play a vital economic role, often punching above their weight in terms of economic contribution.
These retailers play an even more important social role, holding, sharing and even adding to the narrative of communities around the world as well as providing practical support for community based endeavors.
Smaller retailers help local shoppers with a level of personal service which leads to better buying decisions.
We like these points, especially that small businesses and small business retailers in particular are more like to uphold and carry forward local customs, beliefs and stories. They support the,local voice. This is why this marketplace and business size are important in countries like Australia and New Zealand. They push back on globalisation and the dilution of the local voice to a whisper.
Whereas with big business retailers you are dealing with a person representing a corporation and focused on the goals of the corporation, in smaller businesses you are dealing with the owner or someone very close to the owner, reflecting the personal and connected nature of the business and the community in which its serves.
We also feel that we can contribute more to the community and the economy by working with small business retailers. We are happy with our track record in this regard since starting in business in 1981.
So, yes, we enjoy serving in our chosen business size niche and remaining a business of this size ourselves. This is where we think we can actively contribute and do the most good.
The value of a business is not only about financial performance. Its contribution to community is, in our view, equally if, not more, important.
There was a time when small was almost considered a dirty word in business. Not any more. This is the time of small business. It is a niche in which many of us choose to remain. It is a place of profitable businesses and businesses making a genuinely valuable economic and social contribution.
We returned from our introspection about our size and focus renewed in our belief in and commitment to small business retailers and our work with them.