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Supersize Me?

Big and Small CompaniesSeveral months ago, in the wake of a major merger in the relocation industry, I wrote a post on how acquisitions can impact clients and transferees. It really got me thinking about the nature of business and growth and I’ve come to the somewhat obvious conclusion that we worship the mega-corporation way too much.

You may not agree. You might even call me crazy.

“But Laura, we celebrate startups all the time. You know, like Facebook!”

But is that really true? Certainly, we’ve celebrated the ingenuity of a young man who produced digital gold, but how long did it take before buyout rumors started? What about the pressure to IPO?  Mere moments. The same thing happened with MySpace and we all know how that ended.

On a smaller scale, I’ve seen the same phenomenon happen in the relocation, moving and storage industries. Once a small-mid-sized start up starts to take off and grow, we immediately try to make it bigger. Not better, mind you, but bigger.  Why?

In a super-sized world, is bigger always better?

I have to admit that there is a sense of sadness each time I hear about a company being acquired or merged into another company. I love that startups are founded because of a strong passion to accomplish new things. I like that they maintain their independence, their entrepreneurial views, their key differentiators and their brand. A lot of the time, customers of startups (or smaller businesses) make their decisions because they enjoy these characteristics.  All too often, once a company is merged or acquired that initial spirit, culture, and independence gets absorbed into the larger entity.

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jack Jampel on the differences between large and small-mid-sized-relocation companies. He offered a lot of insight about what makes a company great and size was not included on his list. The common theme was partnership, trust and great customer service.

I’m not going to be naive and say that mergers should never happen, or that they can’t be beneficial. Some are a boon to the companies and their industries. I know a lot of great super-sized companies. But, I also want to celebrate how awesome start up and small-mid-sized businesses can be too. I’m inspired every day here to strive for better, not bigger, and I’d love to hear from others who feel the same way.