With the advent of the industrial revolution, most scalable business happened in manufacturing, which required a large upfront investment. This has made big business a largely inherited event—you’d need your family’s money and status to be able to finance your new venture, whether through own capital or a loan.
Today, however, both inside know-how and financing for those with the right plan are a lot more accessible. Most industry secrets are no longer that difficult to track, and you don’t have to be born into a renowned family to obtain financing. At the same time, you don’t need that much money to start a venture of your own. From guerilla marketing tactics to smart allocation of resources, a small company today can find ways to compete with multi-billion dollar companies.
One of the best investments a small company can make to even the playing grounds with the big guns is through I.T. At its essence, technology is the perfect means to amplify one’s ability to compete. Imagine how much easier David would have had it if he had a full-on exosuit to take on Goliath!
As we’ll observe later through specific examples, this is especially true with accounting firms. I.T. is the primary vehicle through which companies can automate tedious and time-consuming inner processes, perfect their customer journey touchpoints, and virtually remove time and money constraints—issues that are common in small accounting firms.
Smart smaller companies also don’t take their mammoth competitors head-on; instead, they look for small gaps in the armor and try to abuse the giant’s lack of agility for own advantage. Paraphrasing the words of ever-wise Jack Ma, multi-billionaire founder of Alibaba, his strategy wasn’t to fight Amazon in an open field—instead, he would look for opportunities that the American e-commerce behemoth had missed, and capitalize. Small firms, due to their lean structure, can respond to opportunities much quicker than their giant counterparts, where an idea has to pass through layers of management before seeing manifestation.
In a World of Identical Products, People Buy Customer Support
According to a report by Walker, customer support is becoming more important for buyers than price or product. Yep, that’s customer support—more important than what you’re buying, or for how much. A different report by Gartner states that up to 89% of businesses compete through customer experience. And, to top them all off, Accenture has found that companies in the U.S. lose around $1.6 trillion due to customers switching to competitors after receiving bad customer service.
These numbers are no surprise, really. Most competitive industries have little room for extraordinary innovation or breathtaking differentiation through products or services alone. How much better can shoes, smartphones, vehicles, and haircuts get? Occasions where a sole revolutionary idea changes the entire industry are rare in established fields, and most of those ideas end up in the trash bin because those involved don’t have the time, money, or the will to innovate.
Accounting firms are no different. In fact, they’re the perfect example: there is no room to innovate. The service you’re providing is directly tied to legislation and business standards. Even if you wanted to, you simply couldn’t come up with a radical advance in your services on your own.
The customer support, however, is one of the most important—if not the single most important—factors of success for accounting firms. For one, company executives trust external accounting firms with some of their most sensitive information—trust is a prerequisite. Then comes the fact that contracts are usually ongoing, and require regular communication. Would you rather have weekly calls with an accountant you like, or the one you don’t? Lastly, it’s in client’s best interests that their accounting will be done in a thorough, timely fashion. What better way is there to judge the accountant’s personal qualities and dedication to work than talking to them?
Since most accounting services are highly digitized, I.T. is the perfect tool to directly improve your customer satisfaction. New features, convenient management systems, and digital contracts are just the tip of the iceberg.
Hyper-Scaling Through Technology
While big corporations have very different capabilities from small firms, a lot of that comes from pure manpower. In fact, big firms may have the same brainpower as the small firms, just with a lot more helping hands.
When you’re a small operation, you can’t—and don’t want to—compete through human resources. Trying to act like a company with a great many employees in terms of management is not a battle you want to fight. Instead, small companies use technology to counteract the manpower of large corporations.
Through I.T. availability, small accounting firms can equip themselves with the same level of software that big firms use. This means not only the ability to take on bigger, more complex projects and clients, but also the fact that their backups and security will be on par with industry leaders.
One of the ways big firms establish their positions is through being everywhere. Having departments and franchises all over the country used to allow them to create a loyal customer base, and remove small local competitors from relevancy.
With the power of modern I.T., that’s no longer the case. Small firms can leverage the power of mobile communications, remote work, and digital contracts to effectively multiply their manpower. Today, if you’re on the other side of the ocean, it doesn’t mean you can’t strike a deal with a client; likewise, if you’re out of the office, it doesn’t mean you can’t set out tasks and manage your team.
Probably the most important aspect of scaling through technology is the ability to automate mundane and time-consuming day-to-day tasks. As a small company, working hard is not enough—you have to work smart, too. I.T. allows you to automate tasks and provides space to use your primary asset: your brains.
If you’re a small- or medium-sized accounting firm in the Springfield or Tulsa regions and are facing brick-wall competition from the big players, let us know; we’ll help you strategize how to use I.T. to take on your competitors. Give us a call at 844-44-JMARK, send an email to [email protected], or just get in touch through the Contact Us page of this website. We want to hear your story and understand your challenges, truly.