Big Fish, Little Fish. A match made in heaven?

The prospect of doing business with huge global companies can be a daunting one for a small business, particularly one at an early stage in its development. The current economic climate sees big companies forced to pay close attention to the purse strings in every area of their operations, and it’s an ideal time for small businesses to step in and show the big boys how an alliance can benefit both organisations.

In the first instance, the two may not look like natural bedfellows. Small companies see larger ones as stifled by bureaucracy, slow to act, and besieged by procedure and protocol. Large companies see smaller ones as financially precarious fly-by-nights, who lack organisation and take risks that would cause palpitations in the CFO of a global business. However, the astute business will recognise that the very differences which concern them can also bring benefits which far outweigh the cons.

Historically, large companies chose to simply swallow up smaller ones, taking their business proposition, and absorbing it into the bowels of their organisation. As it becomes clear that big businesses need agility to thrive and survive, increasingly they are looking to develop strategic alliances with entrepreneurial start-ups and small businesses with innovation at the very core of what they do.

By virtue of their ability to be infinitely adaptable and highly focused on their core offering, small businesses have much to offer their more ponderous counterparts. The larger the organisation, the more bureaucratic hoops there are to be jumped through to get anything done. This impacts particularly in the areas of research and development, and this is where an innovative small business, with all the groundwork done, and a product that is ready to go to market, can be hugely attractive to a larger organisation. 

On the other side of the fence, big organisations bring financial security to smaller businesses, who, once they have one or two decent sized contracts in place, can focus exclusively on product development. The wealth of knowledge within a large, well established business is also a godsend for fledgeling businesses, who have great ideas, but maybe lack the commercial experience to make a success of them. Working together brings flexibility and agility to larger organisations, and adds security to smaller ones – so the answer to the question in the title is a resounding Yes!