16 Surprising Small Business 32While massive corporations get the most headlines, small businesses are the biggest drivers of the economy and create two out of every three new jobs.

So while big businesses have certain scale advantages in terms of costs and branding, small companies have several unique advantages that make them competitive in the modern economy.

#1 Customer Service

Small businesses consistently outrank big companies for customer service scores, and consumers rank it as among the most important reasons to buy from small businesses. With more focused teams, smaller companies tend to be able to respond more quickly and intelligently to customer issues.

Additionally, the smaller amount of customers makes it easy for small businesses to deliver more personalized customer care. Unlike big companies, which tend to have rigid, entrenched policies, small businesses are usually flexible and willing to bend their rules in order to do the best for their customers.

#2 Local Connections

Small businesses understand their local cities and regions better than a big corporation ever can. That makes them more responsive to localized developments and more in tune to the needs of their communities. Small businesses can adapt to the demand for new products, changing economic conditions, or even natural disasters more rapidly than a big company.

In addition to their economic activities, small businesses also tend to be more engaged with their communities. Many small businesses will give back to local charities, and even support local causes in their stores and through social media. When you support local small businesses, you don’t just support the economy, you support a more vibrant and engaged local community.

#3 Product Diversity

Big businesses thrive on a scaling ability to sell products to thousands or even millions of customers every day. As such, the economics don’t make as much sense for big companies to go out of the way to satisfy a single customer’s desire for a product that lies outside of their inventory.

Small businesses, on the other hand, succeed by offering unique and superior products that can’t be found anywhere else. They’re more likely to have a breadth of unique, and even customized products, as opposed to the same brands and products offered up by larger companies.

#4 Personal Connection

The employees of small businesses live, work, and socialize in their communities. They don’t just create products, they create relationships with their customers. Whereas, it’s generally hard to make a personal connection dealing with the numerous cogs of a faceless, big corporation.

Small businesses, on the other hand, have the ability to put a personal face on their interactions with customers through a steady stream of marketing. That means building relationships, creating personalized solutions, and adding those little touches that show customers they are appreciated for more than just their wallets.

Imagine e-mailing a company with a question about how to use one of their products. There’s a big difference between getting a form e-mail from a stranger and getting a personalized e-mail from someone who knows who you are and your specific needs. This level of personal attention is a big part of what makes small businesses competitive and relevant in today’s economy.

Read more: Learn From the Big Enterprise: Best Practices in Keeping Small Business Systems Up to Date