Bigger is always better? Not really.

Everybody knows the famous song lyrics from Daft Punk „Bigger, better, faster, stronger.“ While bigger is usually better, this is not always the case in business decisions.
This blog article will highlight the key differences between big “full-service” agencies and small specialized agencies, and why it can be a smart decision to work with a small agency instead of a big one.

Pros and Cons

But let’s start with the basics. What do you want? What is your budget? What is important for you during the project?

The full-service agency can give you kind of an „all round care package“. They can take care of many different topics and as a customer you just have to deal with one agency. But can someone who offers a wide area of services guarantee the same quality in each subarea as a specialized agency? 

From our perspective it depends a lot on the age of a technology. If the technology already existed for a long time and has proven itself as the industry standard, big agencies will probably have a couple of experts in this field and can provide you with a good service. 

However, big agencies are more likely to stick to the status quo which means they take longer to invest time and money into learning a new technology. As a consequence they will rarely offer services that include modern solutions. Small agencies, on the other hand, are characterized by greater flexibility and can acquire expertise more quickly because of faster decision-making processes. 

For you as the client, this leads to the following general decision you have to make: rather spend your budget on a traditional, stable technology with predictable results, or use modern technologies that maybe have a higher risk, but can also lead to a significant competitive advantage if used correctly?

“The heart and soul of a company is creativity and innovation.”

(Robert Iger, CEO of Walt Disney)

To stay innovative and keep your competitive advantage, it’s necessary to get fresh ideas from as many different perspectives as possible. Small agencies have a unique way of working, which will most likely differ from standardized “best-practice” processes that exist in big agencies. Through these unique working processes, small agencies will identify new opportunities for your business that you might have never thought of.

“As a company grows, communication becomes its biggest challenge.”

(Ben Horowitz, Investor & Author)

The larger a company, the more bureaucratic rules regulate the work processes. As a result, time is wasted walking from floor to floor, getting approvals from project managers, and endless meetings. In small agencies, on the other hand, internal communication is a lot more efficient and client communication is a lot more personal. This is an advantage for the client as regular feedback and quick reaction times reduce the chance of misunderstandings and therefore increase the likelihood of a successful project significantly. 

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

(Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway)

Besides the aforementioned differences, there is another advantage of small agencies. To say it in an economical way: they are cheaper. Of course they are. Simply because they have less overheads than big companies with their bureaucracy, daily processes, correction loops and huge offices. 

With regard to project timeline, a smaller number of employees doesn’t have to be a disadvantage – after all, it is not possible to have a large amount of people work on a single software program at the same time. The effective use of labor is therefore usually better for small agencies. And with the help of agile project management, small agencies can also react more flexible to unforeseen requirement changes. As a result, lower fixed costs are incurred, and the savings are passed on to clients. 

To be even more practical, it’s not just about the best price, it is about the best quality you can get for your budget on the market – efficiency, support and communication play an important role here. That’s why small agencies are gaining a lot of popularity recently, especially among small and medium-sized businesses. 

Conclusion

Let’s break the whole text down to the three most relevant advantages of small agencies:

  • Communication is faster and on a more personal level. 
  • Fresh and unique ideas to stay innovative, especially with new technologies.
  • Lower budget requirements.

Even if it is often the big agencies names that immediately flash into your mind, they do not necessarily have to be the right choice. Especially small and medium sized businesses should rather rely on a service provider with personal communication and support that can lead to a long-lasting, mutually beneficial, business relationship.

So the next time you start a new project with an agency, consider if a small one might be the better fit for your requirements and expectations. Maybe BusyBytes? 😉 

Co-authors: Jörg Siegel and Eric Birgel