Pros & Cons of Working With a Small But Growing Company Like ScreenSteps
Is bigger always better?
The social game “Bigger or Better” would suggest no. In “Bigger or Better” people start with a small, simple product, like a paper clip. They then try to exchange the item for a product that is either larger or has a higher value.
One TikToker traded a bobby pin and had a house. She made 28 trades. The size of the product was sometimes smaller, but it added more value to improve her next trade.
With business, you are looking to make the right trade-offs when you purchase new software. That decision can be intimidating because you know you are stuck with the company for a while once you sign the contract.
Often, you turn to large companies because those are the ones you know. But, they aren’t always the better value for your business.
It depends on what you are looking for in the software service. Neither a large nor small company is all good or all bad. There are advantages and disadvantages to working with both types of companies.
As the Director of Transformational Services at ScreenSteps — a knowledge base software company — some of our added value of being a growing small company is how personal and attentive we can be with our customers.
Here is a general look at what it is like to work with a small and growing company like ScreenSteps. I’ve included seven pros and five cons so you can decipher if working with a small company is a good option for your business.
7 pros for hiring a small company
There are many advantages to working with a small but growing company.
1. You get to speak with knowledgeable people
With a small and growing company, you often get to work directly with the creators. That means you have the most knowledgeable people at the company. You have more access to the experts at the company. They are the ones working with you.
These creators and early employees of the company are often super invested in the success of the company. They also have more access to information. That leads them to know the ins and outs of their service like those at a larger don’t have an opportunity to know.
As companies grow bigger, there is a tendency to hire people who aren’t as experienced in doing sales and customer service. On the other hand, larger companies do train their employees to become experts.
2. Small companies can be more innovative
At large corporations, there are large design and technical teams to work on the product. But, they have a very controlled plan for building out their software.
It can take months or even years for an employee at a large corporation to have and present an idea, receive feedback and approval, build the feature, and go through the final approval process.
Small companies have more flexibility to be innovative. Employees don’t have multiple levels of a corporation to climb through. Because of the smaller team, they have more direct access to the decision-makers.
This makes the team more agile in the changes they can make to the software service.
3. Small companies can be more personal
It’s not that large corporations are not personable. It’s that they are required to adhere to a specific schedule.
As a customer at a smaller company, you get more one-on-one attention. You get personalized attention that is specific to your company, your plan, and your success as a business. This makes concepts and software easier to implement.
4. Small companies can be more flexible in working with your needs
What do you need to succeed?
Sometimes your team doesn’t have all the team members or internal support that you need to implement software. Or maybe you don’t have the training capacity to implement a new training program surrounding your new software.
Small companies will work around your specific needs. They can be flexible with your needs. There isn’t as much tape and wire as there is at larger corporations.
5. The company can grow with you
Your company is growing — so is the small business you are working with. This makes you more of a partner to the company you are working with (and you want to treat your partners well).
There is more space for the company to listen to what the customer needs and wants. Because they listen, they are able to prioritize features and tools that their customers are asking for. It is easier for them to incorporate customer feedback and apply it to the product.
6. Small companies are invested in your success
Let’s be honest — small companies have more to lose by losing your business. That means they desperately need you to succeed.
Small businesses you work with are more invested in your success. Your individual success means success for that small business. They are building their portfolio and they need you to succeed.
That means a good small and growing business will be available to you. They will invest in your company with attentive customer support. They will answer your questions and follow up to make sure you are succeeding.
7. Small companies are focused on a specific problem
Small and growing companies focus on one specific problem they are solving with their software. And they do it REALLY well.
The problem when one software tries to solve all of the organizational and management information for a company is they are torn in too many directions. And, they still tend to focus on one area of the software — which might not be the area you are purchasing the software for.
There will always be a “favorite child” for a software company. They will put more energy into one portion of their software service. The other branches exist but they don’t receive as much attention or development.
For example, at ScreenSteps, we are focused on providing a knowledge base software that allows your employees to quickly create, store, share, and find support articles. You can use that software to both support employees on the job and train them in onboarding or the workflow.
We aren’t trying to solve the same issues as a CRM, call center software, intranet, or other company support software.
5 cons for working with a small business
While there are many advantages to working with a small company, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there are some disadvantages. Knowing these challenges before working with a smaller company helps you plan to overcome the challenges.
Here are five cons of working with a small company to consider.
1. You don’t have brand recognition
When you use a smaller company, you often don’t have automatic brand recognition. You can’t tell your boss you’re going with a well-known name.
Large companies have a reputation that proceeds them. With smaller businesses, you don’t have the reassurance that many companies have heard of and used the small business before. The company may be good, but it hasn’t developed any clout in the industry yet.
You might not have as many online customer reviews to reference. In those cases, you can always ask the company for customer success stories and testimonials. Or the company may be able to connect you with current customers to learn about their experience.
2. Online communities are not as big
Large companies that have a lot of users tend to have online communities. Whether these communities are organized by the business or independent users on different platforms, there is a community to help answer your questions about the software.
Small and growing companies often don’t have that community built up yet. There are fewer forums and YouTube channels where you can get answers about the software.
This means you need to reach out directly to the company for answers, which can take more time than googling a question.
3. The software may not have all the tools you want
When companies are starting, they don’t know the essential features and tools their software may need. Or, more likely, they won’t have all the tools you want.
However, all software services are constantly looking to improve their platform. They are coding additional features and tools as they learn and grow. They are looking for opportunities to make the experience better for the customer.
4. Limited customer support availability
With a smaller company, you may be wondering: Will I get the help I need, when I need it?
Smaller companies often have a smaller team and it is more difficult for them to staff their support 24/7. Because of this, a smaller company may need to limit its customer support availability to specific hours.
However, small and growing companies sometimes get outside help — such as agencies or business process outsourcing (BPOs) — to provide 24/7 support.
How ScreenSteps handles customer support
Our ScreenSteps help site provides customers 24/7 self-service support. That includes a large collection of step-by-step instructions on how to use and troubleshoot your ScreenSteps knowledge base.
Additionally, customers can email, chat message, or call the ScreenSteps team for assistance. During business hours, our team responds to most tickets within an hour. For emergencies, we have 24/7 system monitoring and support in place.
Read more details about the type of customer support ScreenSteps offers its customers here.
5. Your main point of contact might be on vacation
While it is great that you have a better chance of receiving one-on-one attention when you work with a smaller company, that comes with a risk.
When the person you work with is sick or goes on vacation, there aren’t as many people to cover them for the day. This could delay your timeline and work.
Work with businesses that will advocate for your company
Choosing software for your company is intimidating. You know you are committing to the software and the business for a time when you sign the contract. But you don’t know what type of service you will receive once you’ve signed that contract.
You need a trusted partner. ScreenSteps tries to be that partner for your company.
The ScreenSteps team is growing. While the ScreenSteps team is small, we are advocates for our customers. We view our customers as partners. We are invested in the success of our customers’ knowledge bases.
Don’t take our word for it. Read about our customer’s experiences with our customer success stories. Or read and listen to reviews directly from our customers on G2, a third-party review site.
If you have questions about working with our team, schedule a time to talk to a ScreenSteps rep.