Yes, I plead guilty: connecting global business locally is the slogan of my blog, and by it I seem to suggest that global business depends on size. In my view however, this is far from true.
I support many companies and I have a growing admiration for the many successful mid-sized businesses that nobody knows. Instead, the big companies of the world are on everybody’s lips and this leads to greatly overlooking some decisive facts:
- All companies in the world started small: so did Richard Branson’s group Virgin, which started as a student magazine.
- Small companies simply are and will be in the future the backbone of the economy with an overwhelming share of more than 90% of the world economic power.
- Start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses are the job drivers of the economy per se, not the large companies.
This is dangerous and expansive to ignore as the countless failed mega mergers à la Daimler-Chrysler or AOL-Time-Warner show.
Of course, we all want to achieve as much as possible as fast as possible, without seeing the necessity of small steps, which we all easily overlook, me including. People just want to achieve as much as possible as fast as possible.
This became clear to me over years of day-to-day business, as I have never until now gotten a major contract in one shot. On the contrary, the assignments we were trusted with always came for having taken care of insignificant details. I remember all too well the large American group whose first assignment to us was to urgently provide them with a business credit card in Spain. And we have since grown with them step-by-step for 15 years.
Unfortunately it still seems that clients come to me with the following condition: you get the contract (ideally provision-based) if you send us clients. That way, the necessary process of the many small but immensely important steps will be completely overlooked. My experience teaches me that the sale process is one of the many small steps. First there needs to be a proper introduction between the appropriate contacts, which will lead to a real interest. In the best cases this will lead to a closer dialogue, which can in turn result in a “small” offer. Then, on the basis of this minimal added value, trust is built, which leads to a real client.
In my work and language I have therefore coined the MAP concept = Minimum Added value Proposition “ because I see small steps as the mother of all successes.