Successful niche firms will help economy rebound

| January 5th, 2009 | , ,

The ongoing successes of small businesses is being overshadowed by the media’s heavy focus on the failings of corporate giants. The latest news about this economy doesn’t seem to bode well for anyone. However, there is a resurgence going on in small business circles.

The Editor of the Pacific Business Times has outlined five reasons why successful niche firms will help the economy rebound. Here they are below, along with our thoughts and experiences on each.

  1. Employee empowerment
    On the flip side of having to wear multiple hats, owners and employees of a small business are able to take initiative. Self-starters are very effective within a small business. Our Pelago sidecar projects are evidence of this business trait. Our employees have created the notable open source offerings Sigmund and the Emogrifier.
  2. Effective branding
    Small companies rely on highly targeted conversations with a highly targeted market. In other words, find a niche and pursue it. At Pelago, we did this early on and we haven’t looked back. An intimate understanding of the web design & development market is what has made our web-based project management application, Intervals, so successful for like-minded creative service firms.
  3. Relationship-driven sales
    Established relationships with customers make it easier to sell products and services and to work together on recurring projects. Although these relationships can be complex, they are far more effective than cold calling and advertising. Most small businesses will tell you that referrals are the best source of business. Our web design and development projects have been referral based since the advent of Pelago nine years ago.
  4. Cash management tools
    Controlling cash flow is probably one of the most difficult challenges facing a small business. It requires a lot of skill and consistency (a line of credit doesn’t hurt, either). Small businesses have learned to deal with fluctuations in cash flow on a daily basis. Fluctuations in the economy aren’t a far stretch from the norm. We’ve been dealing with them for years, certainly we can handle these lean times.
  5. Constant innovation and entrepreneurial vision
    Small companies are always looking for new ways to present themselves. There is a lot of noise in the small business sphere and having a clear and succinct message can be critical to differentiation. We are constantly tuning and tweaking our message, our vision, and our appearance to the global marketplace. The goal is not to reinvent, but to stay fresh.

Perhaps the most important fact to remember is that the Rebel Alliance didn’t need giant AT-ATs to defend themselves against The Empire. All they needed were a few small and agile snow speeders. Here is to a successful 2009 for small businesses across the globe.

Lear

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A collection of useful tips, tales and opinions based on decades of collective experience designing and developing web sites and web-based applications.

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Intervals is online time, task and project management software built by and for web designers, developers and creatives.
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John Reeve

John is a co-founder, web designer and developer at Pelago. His blog posts are inspired by everyday encounters with designers, developers, creatives and small businesses in general. John is an avid reader and road cyclist.
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Michael Payne

Michael is a co-founder and product architect at Pelago. His contributions stem from experiences managing the development process behind web sites and web-based applications such as Intervals. Michael drives a 1990 Volkswagen Carat with a rebuilt 2.4 liter engine from GoWesty.
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