It’s often said that the one advantage small businesses have over big ones is that they are more ‘fleet of foot’. They can adjust to change more rapidly, and change direction more easily. The old sailing boat compared to an oil tanker analogy springs to mind.
Whilst there’s considerable truth in that, managing the changes needed to grow, diversify and stay up to speed is a process that shouldn’t differ wildly with the size of the organisation involved.
The practical challenges will be different. For example, I’ve implemented technology driven change processes into organisations with estates comprising thousands of personal computers and printers, across a wide geographic area. But that was because the organisation was big - and like many such, started off as small - and its physical requirements were a result of its growth. But, the reasons for the changes were not rooted in the size of the estate. They were born out of the need to adapt and adopt to changing customer and market needs, or to meet the requirements necessary to deliver the service that expansion demanded.
What’s interesting is that the approach to the problem, the overall strategy, can be applied to a much smaller organisation. The demands of solving the problems of a business with huge personnel and hardware numbers are such that the lessons learned are hard won. They’ve had to be developed against a tough brief.
Once learned they can be applied to a smaller business with equal efficiency and possibly faster results.
Think inventory control, or logistics. A solution, carefully developed to deal with tens of thousands of items, or control hundreds of delivery routes, is a massive property, easily delivered to monitor hundreds of items or tens of routes.
My experience is that each and every brief, each and every business, is in some way unique. But, the breadth of my experience has shown me that, whilst ‘one size fits all’ is not a wise philosophy, the knowledge gained from one size can be applied to all.