The David and Goliath Principal for Business

Most of us are familiar with the inspiring Biblical story of David and Goliath. It is a simple story of how a small shepherd boy defeated a famous fully armed behemoth warrior named Goliath.

The story of David and Goliath is a source of inspiration where a smaller, more agile competitor defeats the giant on the battle field. David knew who he was, what his strengths were, and how he could gain the advantage. David held the self-belief that Goliath could be defeated and he was the one to do it. Though Goliath was fully armed and heavily armored, he was defeated because David saw his weakness. He was nimble and his tactics were unconventional.

This is what resonates with small business leaders. Smaller forces win all the time using unconventional and unexpected strategies just as David the underdog, beats a bigger and better-armed opponent with five smooth stones.

All small businesses have to compete against the organizational Goliaths, but when you choose not to play by Goliath’s rules, you win. Using the David and Goliath principle in business, we must never see our competitors as infallible.  We must see a possibility to outperform our competitors and execute a competitive strategy with this mindset.

David did not slay the giant because he wanted fame, fortune and riches. He did it because he was motivated and focused to fulfill his mission.  As small business owners, we must also be motivated and have a central focus that propels our business forward and allows us to compete.

As a small business, our ability to survive and thrive in business depends on our ability to understand our strengths and weaknesses. In small business, our size can also be our strength. We have the ability to identify opportunities quickly and execute faster than the slow, lumbering Goliaths.

Small businesses can provide more attentive customer service, better employee relations and more attention to detail. Just as David’s strengths were his enthusiasm, commitment and energy. I believe that if you are truly a customer-focused and employee-focused business, you have a strong chance to compete with the Goliath’s of this world.

Two areas where the David’s of the business world can compete with the Goliaths are in superior customer service and employee engagement. Just as David did with the stones, we must leverage our strengths and uniqueness to delight our customers and retain the best and smartest employees.

Superior Customer Service

It is a well-known fact that Small businesses go out of their way to help their customers. Leaders of small business can be contacted anytime during business hours and sometimes even out of business hours. The point is that they are always there to help. This type of personalized service that customers get from small businesses is almost never available from the Goliaths.

Small businesses make their customers feel like valued friends. This personalized and friendly approach is what appeals to customers and they keep coming back for more. Smaller businesses typically provide great service because the leadership is longer lasting and more passionate about their business and their customers.

Some large corporations may lose sight that it is all about being helpful and going the extra mile for the customer. More than 80% of customers in an American Express Customer Service survey say that smaller companies put a greater emphasis on customer service than larger businesses.

Employee Engagement

Small businesses don’t have the advantage of a large human resource department and typically can’t match the Goliath competitors’ salaries and benefits. However, what we do have is the ability to attract and retain talented, loyal, passionate employees by emphasizing the differences that set us apart from our larger competitors – with more individuality, a family like atmosphere and employee engagement.

Employees in smaller companies also feel a larger sense of ownership of the company and feel their contributions make more of a difference than their counter-parts in larger companies. Smaller companies treat people the way they’d like to be treated.

In conclusion, Small companies with good leaders, engaged employees, personal client relationships, and sustainable business models CAN compete with the big guys!

Jamie Wood, Avatel EVP




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