Big and small companies
There are many advantages to small high-tech firms. Working with a group of highly intelligent and qualified programmers is always a joy. There is no managerial nonsense, no unnecessary infrastructure, and no corporate culture to stifle development. On the other hand, there are some pretty significant disadvantages that people never realize until it is too late. Big companies fail because of bloated, inefficient corporate culture. Small companies fail because they miss obvious things.
Non attractive trade show display
In the case of my company, our ignorance of the importance of trade show displays almost cost us our business. Of course now we are doing quite well, but just six months ago we were on the verge of folding. We couldn't figure out why we didn't get any attention at our trade show exhibits. We knew that what we were selling was good and was not like anything else on the market. We had a clear, informative trade show display that explained the product well. Nonetheless, while the other booths got dozens of customers, our trade show display would only attract one or two people at a time. We'd figured that word-of-mouth would spread from those few people in that we would still get some business from it, but it wasn't happening. There just wasn't enough interest to generate the buzz that we needed. Something had to be done, and we had no idea what it was.
Then my friend and longtime business partner John had an idea that all of us thought was crazy. We imported a token business type, something that we had been dreading for a long time. Rather than saving money, we actually had a new employee to pay, but we knew that we had to do it. It was a desperation measure, and it was now or never. He told us that our biggest problem was the trade show display. To him it was so simple that he couldn't believe that we had missed it, but to us it seemed impossible. The trade show display was fine, we thought. It contained all of the relevant information without any of those flashy graphics or design elements that distract from the essential data. How could he make a better trade show display than that?
Finally, he won us over. He redesigned the trade show display, and things changed overnight. The trade show exhibition booth was the hit of the next convention, and in the following months we had enough business to not only hold us above water, but to a catapult us towards the sky! I guess business critters are worth something after all!