The most successful SMBs plan for the long term.
There has been much in the news lately on how large companies, flush from the windfall of the recent reduction in corporate tax rates, are planning to make long-term investments. The fact is that growing small and midsize businesses are always making long-term investments.
We often point out how SMBs are usually pre-occupied with the day-to-day challenges and opportunities of running their businesses. For the most part, this is true. But the ones that are thriving and are most successful over time have something else in common. They develop strategies instead of simply focusing on tactics. They are patient and allow time for their strategies to bear fruit. They anticipate and plan for changes in their marketplace, and will make investments that will pay dividends in the future.
Here are a few examples from some of the many SMB owners that I know:
- One friend who runs a 50-person IT services company has been investing considerable time in marketing partnerships over the past few years. He is only now starting to see results in the form of new clients. Smartly, his firm focused on partnerships that would lead to better clients -those who appreciate the level of service and that are ok with their fee schedule. Keep in mind that this was their first stab at these types of partnerships, and they had no idea whether they would pay off. The company had the patience to make a sustained effort and now they are reaping the rewards.
- Another friend, who runs a 10-person law firm, sees that their current focus on government-related work will likely slow and is branching out into litigation. She is hiring professionals with litigation experience even without having litigation work currently, so that they are prepared to diversify their client base and expand their service offering.
- An acquaintance with a marketing services company plans to travel more aggressively in 2018, as he sees the opportunity to get face-to-face with more clients and prospects. He feels that his competitors are relying too much on email communications. While his approach is more expensive and takes up more of his personal time, he believes the effort will help him build better relationships, leading to a higher close rate, increased loyalty and longer-term competitive advantage.
While companies that are not growing still need to buy stuff, many B2SMB companies should be “playing the hot hand” and targeting growing companies. How can you tell which they are? Look for companies that are hiring. Growing companies hire more people and therefore must purchase more products and services, from technology to travel to office supplies. Another way to identify growing companies is content consumption. The companies and decision-makers that most aggressively consume your growth-related content are most likely those that are growing today or making plans for bigger things in the future.