Big Corporations vs. Small Business
Thomas Young ’17
Over the past few decades, we have seen the gap between large corporations and small businesses grow larger. Now, corporations such as Target, Starbucks, and Safeway are intruding into areas where small businesses have controlled most of the neighborhood capital for generations. There are advantages to both small businesses and large corporations. Large businesses require a larger workforce and thus, create more jobs for the unemployed. They also have a much stronger sense of public image, therefore winning over more of the population. By alluring more customers, they produce more profit and higher sales. One anonymous freshman said, “Large businesses have loyal customers who help them stay afloat. They also have more resources which help them create a better product.” However, large businesses often lose touch with their customers by becoming too enveloped in advertising and maintaining their external appearance. Charles Kieser ’14 stated, “Cooperations such as Starbucks and Safeway create jobs for a small amount of time. However many local businesses will go under, and they [big corporations] don’t care at all about tradition and family.”
I will not play the cliché hipster and state that salvation for the customer is found only in over-priced local coffee shops and “mom and pop” thrift stores. Nevertheless, it is also important to recognize the advantages of a small business. Many of us have never even heard of small establishments such as San Francisco’s Pirate Supply Store or Seattle’s Hot Tub Boats. However, it has been said that small businesses are the backbone for the “new” economy, but why? To answer this question, consider the analogy of a boxer; the small business being a young, agile fighter, and the large business being an aging, out of shape boxer who is using outdated techniques. Both are boxers, and both are adequate competitors. Yet, one has a distinct advantage. The young boxer can adjust quickly to his environment, whereas the aging boxer will have trouble adapting and continue to use his outdated methods. Of course, the young boxer will win the fight. Today, many of the old giants of business are calling on innovative modern-day entrepreneurs who start out with small businesses and grow as they become successful. Sears, which has existed for well over a century, is falling to the 101 year younger Amazon.com. Amazon offers a more diverse inventory, which is greater in numbers, and comes with lower prices. In addition, Sears must employ a larger workforce at its distribution centers as well as in its stores, whereas Amazon is strictly an online store and requires a much smaller workforce. In conclusion, going back to the original question, agile small businesses are the backbone of the “new” economy, because they pave the way for new innovative products and business models.
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