Don’t Buy From the Small

There is a recent campaign here in Brazil to encourage people to buy from small business. We are seeing again an aiding culture supported by big intitutions.

Of course, there is a good intention behind that big action, but we’ve got to think about it for a second. I did and I wish to share my point of view with you.

Well, I don’t know if a campaign that tells people to buy from the small can change public opinion. Even presenting those 5 arguments:

  1. They are close to your home;
  2. They are responsible for 52% of formal employment;
  3. The money stays in your neighbourhood;
  4. Small business develop the community;
  5. Buying from the small is a tranforming act.

The premises are good, but most people prefer to buy from big trade networks. Not because they are big, but because their customer services are of good quality and they train their employees to give a standard attendance.

I know that it is not always true, but for the big size of the company, they have good channels for the complains to arrive to their ombudsmans.

There are many small establishments close to us. It is true. But is it a reason to but from the small?

I prefer to walk a bit more to buy from the best, not taking into consideration if it is a small or a big company.

Yes, we know the small and medium sized enterprizes are responsible for most part of employment, but only appealing to the psycologic side won’t work. Even if a person really wanted to act in favor of the campaign, if she come to have a bad experience from buying from the small, she will never return and she may spread the word about how bad she was treated.

We also know that small business develop the community. But to teach the entrepreneurs is necessary, for them to create a relationship programme, take care of the brand and the attendance standard. They need to have a plan of expansion, because most people only want a source of income to pay the business and personal bills in the end of the month.

More is needed, like creating a sustainable growth strategy. To have in mind that expanding the business to have employment creation is good, because if the entrepreneur doesn’t have it as a goal, you can be sure that the big networks will have. If the region where the small business is located is on the big ones plans of expansion, that small business will be buried in no time by the “unfair” competition.

Most of the small and medium sized enterprizes face the creation of strategy and employees training as expenses or something worse. They think expansion is an unecessary dream. They sabotage themselves when they think they are being too much megalomaniac and end up only focusing on their products and services without caring about the clients experience.

The last point of the campaign says that buying from the small is a transforming act. That is the kind of frase NGO’s use for their campaigns. Consumers don’t want to transform anything. They want their needs to be fullfiled quickly, with a good attendance and a good relation between cost/benefits.

Only encouraging to buy from the small is not enough. We have to buy from the best, those ones that invest in training, that care about good attendance and offer good products and services.

I will give only one example. I am a coffee lover and I always go to a coffee shop in São Paulo downtown, near PUC-SP’s technology campus. It doesn’t belong to a big network, but it has an exceptional attendance, a fidelity programme and it has a very cool rustic establishment made of recycled material.

The small businesses can innovate in a quicker and more dynamic way, because they are small and don’t need to convince lots of directors to create a new product or service. But many entrepreneurs don’t invest in innovation. They think innovation are inside universities, research centers and at NASA.

Innovation has to be part of the enterprizes’s everyday. While we face R&D (Research and Development) as expenses and not as investments, we will continue to depend on campaigns that appeal to the emotional, because we keep with lack of quality to compete with international companies.

It doesn’t matter the size. Buy from the best!

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