An Oklahoma entrepreneur has co-authored a book about business that makes good reading for anyone who wants to grow a company in today's “small” world.
“Shifts in technology, society and the economy are transforming businesses in unexpected ways,” said Becky McCray, an entrepreneur from Woods County with a cattle ranch, retail store and consulting business.
In “Small Town Rules: How Big Brands and Small Businesses Can Prosper in a Connected Economy,” McCray and co-author Barry J. Moltz compare today's global business world to a small town and write that businesses are being forced to play by rules small-town businesses find familiar.
Now that every customer can talk directly to every other customer via the Internet, people listen more to what customers say than to ads and corporate mission statements.
Increasingly, people are gathering in virtual communities where “local” concerns — whether members are in the same town and scattered around the globe — outweigh national ones.
As people are squeezed by the economy, more of them need multiple jobs to support their families.
“Oklahomans have a big advantage competing in this world. We have that small-town tie,” McCray said. “It's part of our culture. That's why you see so many Oklahoma companies succeeding globally; we still have these principles in how we do business. We still follow small-town rules.”
McCray and Moltz list seven Small Town Rules, from Plan for Zero to Build Local Connections.
“We've reached a point where people are more interested in what goes on in their local economy than with national brands,” McCray said. “American Express found that three-quarters of shoppers felt they received better service from smaller than big companies. More than 90 percent of shoppers feel that small local businesses are very important to their community.”
Large companies, she said, will do well to follow the example of L.L. Bean, a company that uses its strong ties to Maine to connect with the desire for “local” from customers around the world.
“You hold on to the culture that you come out of,” McCray said. “Tell that story, every time something leaves your business. Talk about your story online. Put your local connection into everything that you do.”
Sounds like something Oklahomans do naturally.
Tom Walker is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state's technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Walker at i2E_Comments@
DID YOU KNOW?
Ninety-two percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. That's an increase of 18 percent since 2007.