If you are in a small business, there is a new competitor that you are about to face. This is the competitor that killed the smaller hardware stores and the corner milk bars we used to see everywhere.

It is not your competitor next door….

It is not the Global Financial Crisis….

It is not the threat from offshore workers…..

It is big business.

We have seen it in manufacturing and in retail and we are about to see it in professional services. As communications technology and transportation methods continue to develop, the big business we face is not necessarily here in our own country, they can come from anywhere.

They are big, sometimes global and they have vision a powerful vision for the future.

They have a vision for how they are going to provide benefits for their clients, their shareholders and their teams. The better organisations even have a vision for how they are going to make the world a better place. They are inspiring companies to work for.

They are Masters, not just of one thing but of many things. As small businesses many of us provide more than one service, however in general we have mastery in one and very rarely more. Big businesses can come in and offer a service to our clients that we are not currently offering. Then another service and another and eventually our clients realise that it is much easier to deal with a single large organisation than a number of smaller ones. This has happened to me in my Tech business on more than one occasion and it is very hard to compete with.

Big Businesses have great Teams, they can afford to pay good money to get great people. When we were paying our staff between $80,000 and $120,000 a year, larger businesses are paying $150,000 and above. When you can afford to pay more experienced and qualified staff, you get a better result.

Big companies have deep pockets. They are Financially Stable and have strong bottom lines. They can afford to spend money on building the business and making it even stronger and more competitive.

Big businesses are well known. They have strong Brands. Your clients and prospects know about them because they spend a lot of money on marketing and branding.

This combination of Vision, Mastery, Team, Financial Strength and Powerful Branding that big businesses have is very difficult to compete with. I believe that like the small hardware store and small retailer, small professional services businesses are going to find it even more difficult to compete in the future.

The foundations are in place, the move has started and the next ten years will bring some dramatic changes driven by technology and the globalisation of markets and workforces. Until now we have been incredibly lucky in Australia, we have an abundance of natural resources, we are isolated by geography, we have small markets and in spite of the complaints, we have one of the best governments in the world.

That is set to change I would like to illustrate the point by starting with a bit of history….