One of the greatest benefits of small business is that we can’t afford to have Departments.
And without Departments we don’t have to contest Department Heads with their own agenda, ego, and usually distorted view of their Department’s importance in the scheme of things.
Big business is divided up into teams, led by a middle manager, whose skill set is in the core function of that team – not the core function of the business.
So, taking an engineering company as an example, at the level of foreman down to the shop floor you get a stack of people who are skilled in various aspects of engineering. But at middle management and above you will get someone who runs finance, another for HR, and another for marketing. And each of the managers of these divisions really only knows their stuff – and will usually place greatest importance on their function within the business – competing against the other managers for budget and attention from the CEO (who by the way has been chosen from the middle management ranks - not necessarily at that company or even that industry; but a middle manager none the less with a expertise in, and a bias towards either finance, HR, sales or marketing).
The people making and implementing the decisions are for the most part blinkered and narrow minded: They have an indepth knowledge of their own area but only the most shallow insight to (though usually quite solid disregard for) other areas of the business.
Small business is by nature too small to compartmentalise – everyone has to do everything ‘cos there is no one else to delegate it to....With no barriers between departments there is a much freer flow of communication.
What this means for the customer is that 9 times out of 10 the person they are dealing with is not only able to directly impact upon the relationship between them, make decisions that can improve the customer experience, but there is a good chance that they know at least 99% of what is actually going on in the business.
And what is going on in the business is...marketing.
Every action of the small business is marketing – from answering the phones and pricing strategy, to language used in every touch point with potential customers and suppliers; from how the product or service is designed or built, to how it is delivered and packaged. There is nothing in the business that is not some aspect of marketing. So why have – whether internal or outsourced – a marketing department who are charged with going off to ‘create and do’ marketing walled off from the rest of the business?
If you have a marketing department, get rid of it - and make marketing the responsibility and joy of every person in your team: Create and commit to a marketing strategy; learn how to implement various marketing tasks, and then entrust and empower everyone in your small team to be responsible for the marketing of the business.