Remember those heady days when people used to announce that "the internet has leveled the playing field"? Well, it's still kind of true. The abundant existence of online tools to help entrepreneurs and smaller companies get their message out to their target audience means that there are no longer significant technology or cost barriers preventing small companies from getting bigger.
That being said, the playing field is still not a level one for several reasons.
- The DIY Mindset- small companies start small and most of them stay small if they make it past the first five years of life. I believe the mindset of the owners prevent them from growing their companies in a meaningful way. Many take on too many tasks that prevent them from developing their core strengths. Bookkeeping, graphic design, printing and website development are a few categories that come to mind. It reminds me of the saying "Just because you can doesn't mean you should".
- Budget - closely tied to point #1, small companies are loathe to spend money unless it's guaranteed to produce results. The flipside of this is that they then do things themselves, not realizing the damage they do to their brand and in the long-run, to their companies.
- Knowledge - There are a lot of tools available at little to no cost that companies can use to market themselves online. Many companies either don't know they exist or don't know how to use them effectively. A little bit of knowledge can go a long, long way. An example of this is with online metrics. There are many ways one can measure how effective one is being online but most companies don't even know how many people are visiting their website.
- Willingness to Change - Many companies do the same thing, year in and year out, getting largely the same results as they've always gotten. As long as you're happy with that, then life's wonderful. If you want to grow, you have to be open to doing things differently.
There's a lot of new-age speak about how your intention determines your outcome. I think this is a good place to start. You should intend great things for your business. What I suggest is to clearly define your intended outcome and then think about the ways you're going to achieve it. Identify internal and external roadblocks and work on eliminating or neutralizing them. Take the time to learn how to EFFECTIVELY use the tools that are available to you and start working on your plan. That will be much better than intending great things and fumbling around without a plan on how you'll achieve them.