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Big Lessons

Putting big business techniques to work in your company.

Ever admired an operational or marketing technique a large corporation uses and wished you had the resources to do the same? You may not be doing business on the same scale, but there's no reason you can't adapt some big-company methods for your organization. The key is to examine what they do that works, then be creative in applying similar techniques to your operation.

Vance Grady, a business consultant with the University of South Carolina Small Business Development Center in Charleston, offers these ideas:

  • Use organizational charts and job descriptions. If you have even one employee, you're big enough to need job descriptions. "Even in small companies, it's not surprising to find confusion regarding who's responsible for what," he says.
  • Schedule regular staff meetings. There's just a few of you and you see each other all the time, so there's no need for formal meetings, right? Wrong, says Grady. Meetings can help control the information flow and manage accountability.
  • Have a group of advisors. Just as large corporations have a board of directors to guide them, you should have advisors you can turn to as well. Meet with them regularly to get objective opinions and guidance.

Finally, Grady says, do something not all large corporations do: Stay organized. That will help prevent mistakes and oversights. "The smaller the company, the more important it is that things don't fall through the cracks," Grady says. "The consequences of some mistakes that can be absorbed by large organizations can be devastating to a small business."

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This article was originally published in the June 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Big Lessons.

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