When small businesses interact with large corporations, they make changes that improve their organizational structures, management practices, and operations. These changes lead small companies to upgrade their technologies, increase their efficiency, and most importantly, become financially stable. As a result, revenue becomes greater and more consistent, making it possible for these businesses to add new jobs.
On it’s quest to pay tribute to it’s founding father, Sam Walton, the member’s only retail chain, Sam’s Club, has made some innovative and compelling changes. As of April 21, 2015, the retailer has announced five additional offerings, which it believes can save members up to $2,300 per year.
Many of Sam’s Club members are small business owners. The initiative is to assist them in growing their businesses and saving them money. First, in collaboration with Web.com, Sam’s Club will provide digital marketing services for small business owners, 50 percent of whom, according to Web.com, do not have any online presence currently. Sam’s plans to bundle five different plans aimed at website design, email marketing, social media strategy, including do-it-yourself (DIY) and do-it-for-me (DIFM) options.
The next project Sam’s is working on is payments processing with First Data, which will offer point-of-sale technology and mobile payment options with plans beginning at $19 per month.
Some business owners struggle with accounting, so Sam’s has also partnered with 1-800Accountant to offer year-round tax planning services, as well as digital platforms for bookkeeping. And for businesses needing loans, the retailer is planning to launch its Sam’s Club Business Lending Center in the next week. Loans will be offered in the amounts between $5,000 and $350,000 in capital through Lending Club business loans and SmartBiz SBA loans.
Additionally, Sam’s Club has partnered with LifeLock, a company that offers identity risk and credit worthiness assessment for businesses. Sam’s plans to offer annual protection at a reduced cost of 25 percent.
Though these new business related services are largely online, the company plans to make live experts in each field available around the clock.
Additional Ways Corporations Can Help Small Businesses
Identify and support talent. Once large companies have identified the top performers in an industry, they can mentor talented entrepreneurs through supplier development programs. Some state governments can also sponsor programs to boost the management capacity of high-potential small businesses to enhance their growth and competitive edge.
Provide financial backing. Small businesses need support to meet large corporations’ needs. Payment processing can be extremely expensive for small companies. A loan from a corporation could help with capital to scale up their systems, enabling them to accept their first big contract.
Make procurement easier. Small businesses would love to be ‘in the know’ about acquiring information on large businesses’ procurement processes, which is the act of buying goods or services. It’s a challenge for small companies. Corporations that provide website with basic information about goods and services they need and the procurement officer’s contact information is helpful for small business owners to know where to start.
Small businesses are arguably the lifeblood of our country’s economy. They are essential for generating jobs here in the U.S. as well as overseas. Large corporations can play a vital role in the success of small businesses. Seven in 10 small businesses increased in revenue and size within two years of becoming part of the corporate supplier base, as shown in a Center for an Urban Future study. Bottom line: when large corporations share and work with small businesses, everybody wins.
What other ways can large corporations help small businesses succeed? Share your thoughts below.