Employee Benefits

Bigger is Not Better…Better is Better

Steve Harris, CEBS
Steve Harris, CEBS
Development Officer, Employee Benefits

If you ever travel to Vail, Colorado, there’s a famous chef named Brian Little who used to work at one of the toniest spots in the Valley. Chef Little realized working nights and weekends towards a Michelin star at one of the largest hospitality brands in the world was not his purpose. He never saw his family, so he decided to walk away and open a small breakfast café that closes at 2:00 p.m. everyday. It’s a small diner where there are no regular tables or a kitchen. Instead, guests gather around a square seating area to watch the line cooks prepare the best German pancakes and eggs benedict in the world. It’s appropriately called The Little Diner. It can take an hour or more for our family to get seated, but the community seating and love they put into every bite are worth the wait.

There’s a brewery in the design district of Dallas founded by an attorney who would rather make small batches of beer than practice law. If you have drank a Velvet Hammer, Golden Opportunity, or a Wintervention, you know Peticolas Brewery puts craft magic in every glass. Michael Peticolas refuses to bottle his beer, so the only place you can find it fresh is from a tap at select bars and restaurants. He’s also leading the legal fight representing small craft brewers around the country to reverse centuries old laws that favor monopolistic distributors in each state.

Two childhood friends set out to change the world by creating beautiful cleaning products that are as kind to the planet as they are tough on dirt. Who knew you could buy affordable and effective soaps and cleaning agents that don’t contain toxic chemicals. The company is Method, and it’s one of the fastest growing consumer goods companies in the U.S.

Each of the above illustrates a company whose owners are on a mission to make real change in their respective industries. Big is no longer an advantage. In fact, it’s the opposite. If you want to be big, act small. Big often relies on its bigness to thwart attention away from the real problems a customer needs to solve. It’s why there is always a distracting global map in every big company presentation. Here are three reasons why small is the new big:

  1. Consumers have more power— Treating a client like they don’t matter may have worked before word could spread globally at the push of a button. Authentic stories spread — and last. Smaller companies with purpose spend less on marketing than big giants with bad service because customers will readily share the truth. Do you really have a great culture, no defects, and positive reviews, or do consumer reviews paint a different picture?
  1. Big rarely innovates— If you have ever read Harvard professor Clayton Christenson’s Innovator’s Dilemma or the Innovator’s Prescription for Healthcare, you understand there are clear reasons why a giant company will seek to protect its leading position rather than innovate and disrupt existing margins.
  1. Talent trumps big— Many of the brightest minds in the business don’t last long at big. We may have been a part of these companies when they were becoming big, but their bigness got the best of them. Holmes Murphy just upped our game by hiring one of the top Health and Wellness Directors in the country to drive our Health Asset Management team forward. She elected to leave a big health system that was slated to merge with another big to become a $14BB behemoth. She will do big things here.

As an 87-year-old start-up with over 1,000 associates nationwide, our employee-owned company is hardly small. We know we must be purposeful about maintaining our culture and act as hungry as we were when Max Holmes and Ray Murphy were sharing their exceptional service, expert know-how, and integrity throughout Des Moines, Iowa.

So, call your Holmes Murphy representative today and join our team, our movement, our mission. You will find our family of “Davids” is not afraid to throw stones at “Goliaths” when we’re on the right side of history. Five smooth stones and a well-placed shot prove that when giants stand still…they will eventually hit the ground with a big thud.

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