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Working with Small Biz is a Big Deal

By February 4, 2011January 4th, 20163 Comments

Portrait of a Fashion Designer Sitting in Front of Three of Her Colleagues at a Desk

Today’s guest post comes from Raylie Dunkel, a Whale Hunters Certified Partner who does business in the New York City metropolitan area.  Thanks for sharing this interview with us today, Raylie!

Small companies doing business with large companies: it should be easy.   We could each tick off a list of reasons why it should happen and yet it as elusive and hard to do as….finding a whale in a cold, dark ocean!

Why is the concept so difficult to sell? Why do big companies shy away from doing business with small companies?  The answer is well documented in the materials on The Whale Hunters’ web site, in the training materials and in the book Whale Hunting: big companies are afraid of doing business with small companies….and they don’t have to. There are plenty of large companies selling services to other large companies where there is a built in comfort level of “big company think”.

However, many small companies break down the barrier every day–prepared to meet the challenges of overcoming the fears big companies have because they:

  • Are prepared to demonstrate capabilities
  • Know how to identify and overcome objections from large companies
  • Can maximize their achievements

Meyer and Associates, a small marketing communications agency in NYC does business with very large companies on a “business as usual” basis.  I asked Ed Hoey, principal and sales manager why he is so successful in his relationship with some of the largest companies in the travel and leisure industry. (Please check their web site for a list of clients and review of their beautiful publication. However be very careful because looking at the brochures will make you want to book a trip…immediately!)

The Whale Hunters (TWH): Ed, why should big companies utilize the services of small companies:

Ed Hoey (EH): Assuming they find a small company that fits the need they are addressing, the smaller company is likely to be:

  • Specialists with a high level of expertise.
  • They will be high value but not high cost
  • The will be nimble, responsive and quick

TWH: Ok, but why should a big company contract with a small company?


  • Because there will be minimal bureaucracy and layers of middle management.
  • There’ll be access to ownership, leadership and senior level people and their ideas.
  • There’ll be more immediate and personal interaction, and more customized service.
  • The smaller company will assign a very high value to the servicing of the big company. Therefore they will be tremendously dedicated to serving them at the highest level they can.
  • They will be motivated to absorbing the bigger companies DNA, knowing what goes on behind the scenes, the politics, the personalities and anticipating needs, problems and solutions in advance, and trying to impress the bigger company with their knowledge of best practices and industry trends.
  • The smaller company will “up their game”

TWH: Ed, you have a long standing relationship with some of the biggest companies in America. How does time change, challenge and/or improve the relationship?

EH: Over time the smaller company will likely adapt or morph their company to serve the larger company, meeting each need the larger company presents and rising to each challenge that comes along.

These needs and challenges may not be about the service itself. It may be about the larger company’s internal agendas, for example, internet security issues, green technology, or insurance requirements, or the smaller company adopting the larger company’s human resources requirements about employee background checks and screenings.

A small company that can continually comply with and align themselves with the issues of the large corporation has taken all the risk out of doing business together, while still presenting all the benefits I listed.

These are the reasons, the benefits and the outcomes of a successful relationship.  Small companies must prepare themselves to be able to meet the challenges inherent in the relationship. To find out more about understanding the dynamics of small company/ big company relationships, know how to prepare to talk to big companies, and prepare to overcome the big company’s objections, visit The Whale Hunters’ web site and read the article Stop Scaring Whales.

Raylie Dunkel

  • Hi Raylie – Thanks so much for this great interview with Ed Hoey. Great advice for small businesses!

  • Great interview Raylie!

    Ed Hoey has clearly articulated the reasons big companies choose to work with smaller firms. Small business owners should take heed, make sure their organizations are ready to take on large accounts and step forward with confidence in marketing to a well-targeted list of “whales”.

  • Rosemary Brehm says:

    Great job Raylie!
    I particularly agree with Ed’s comment that “the smaller company will assign a very high value to the servicing of the big company. Therefore they will be tremendously dedicated to serving them at the highest level they can.” I find this so true of the smaller businesses that I work with. They truly appreciate the opportunity and do everything they can to “harvest” that whale as best they can.

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