Why did business become so big?

Ok, so I may not the first person to tell you this. But big is out.
Mass Marketing, Mass Production, Economies of Scale, Multi-Million Dollar Advertising Campaigns – These are all ideas associated with Big. And they are out of fashion.

Small is in. Some even say that small is the new big. For me, I’ve been choosing jobs at smaller and smaller companies as my career goes on. And I’d like to work for myself soon, so I’m going to continue down this path.

Here’s an example from my experience why big doesn’t cut it anymore, and why small is best:

Several years ago I worked for a big FMCG (packaged foods) company. One of the biggest in fact. For a while I worked alongside many different people on a brand of instant coffee. The brand was headed up in our region by a guy called Jon. Very smart guy – I learnt a lot from him. But Jon was the Asia Pacific Coffee and Beverages Marketing Director (or something like that). So he was busy. It took at least 3 weeks to book a meeting with Jon.

At one point we were re-launching the brand, which included new packaging. It was such a big brand globally, that what we needed to do (in Australia) was make sure that our new packaging matched the new packaging of the brand across the world. So we booked a meeting with Jon (3 weeks in advance) to make sure that we had dotted our I’s and crossed our T’s.

Because our team was so big, we also had to find a time in everyone’s calendar that was free. We produced mock-ups of the new packaging ready for Jon to approve them. We spent 3 weeks waiting for our meeting with Jon, which he then had postpone for an extra week.

When we were finally able to hold the meeting, it was nothing short of ridiculous. Jon was essentially happy with the new packaging design, the new shape of jar, new logo and the new photography. But he had an issue with the lid.

The size of the lid was fine – It fitted the jar and was easy to open. But the colour wasn’t right.

It wasn’t because we’d chosen an innapropriate teal. Or beige. Or hit pink. It was because it was the wrong shade of maroon! Out Maroon apparently wasn’t the same shade of maroon that our Canadian counterpoints had recently launched.

Need I say more? Big business get caught up with the most ridiculous things. Small business don’t need to. Small beats big! Bye bye big!

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