One-on-one intimacy layer critical
In the continuous battle against $1 billion organisations, the one-on-one intimacy layer is among the most effective weapons in the SME's arsenal.
That's the view of Meryl Malcomess, marketing director of SYSPRO, who says SMEs' ability to maintain an entrepreneurial flavour in their business practices is a distinct advantage against large corporates whose marketing strategies are constrained by the dictates of bureaucracy.
"The so-called 'big guns' are governed by too many harsh, restrictive rules," Malcomess points out. "Consequently, as happened with Parmalat and Enron, those in charge lose their comprehension of the business.
"In fact, many of these monolithic corporates are being compelled to break their structures down into manageable cells, creating more profit and loss centres."
Malcomess believes the tendency for big corporates to focus on image is often detrimental to the business as a whole. "This approach frequently results in unprofitable business units being supported at great cost to the organisation. There is generally less diligence in analysing which parts of the business to keep, and which to let go. SMEs, on the other hand, typically adopt a more hands-on approach to management."
She advises SMEs to position themselves and choose their markets carefully, stating that it is possible to compete in dollar- and euro-based markets. However, as First World economies are almost at a standstill, a good strategy is to target growth markets such as Asia, Africa and India.
"Of course, it's essential that the basics are right - efficient production, meeting client requirements, having access to good suppliers and keeping the ongoing cost of ownership reasonable," Malcomess says.