In my ol’ small business days I remember one thing quite clearly (not only one, mind you, but this certainly comes to mind — in comparison with my corporate life nowadays):
Small businesses often have this… self-reliance imprinted in their operations. E.g. if there is any creative work to be done, e.g. a promotional leaflet, a brochure, a small company’s first steps rarely end up in a creative agency. If a small piece of software needs to be developed, all eyes turn inwards first — looking for someone who has at least part of the required know-how. There are countless examples of analogical cases.
The opposite can be seen in corporations. I often see departments bearing “productive labels”, not capable of developing anything on their own. For example, I remember huge IT departments (with scripting / software development skills [sic]) requiring help from 3rd parties to prepare a miserable HTML manual…
Is it really that others can do better? Is it because we sincerely believe that non-core processes need to be ruthlessly outsourced or services bought? Sometimes I have a feeling that ownership and communication issues, bureaucracy make it easier for us to rely on big bucks and thus — the outside world.
But then, I believe in self-reliance.