If a window is broken and left unrepaired, people walking by will conclude that no one cares and no one is in charge. Soon, more windows will be broken, and the sense of anarchy will spread from the buildings to the streets on which it faces, sending a signal that anything goes. In a city, relatively minor problems like grafitti, public disorder, and agressive panhandling are all the equivalent of broken windows, invitations to more serious crimes.The same relation between entrpreneurs and their corporate behaviour seems obvious. A lot of smaller businesses I have meet and worked with is confident that their clients and the outside world understands the level of which their company is at. And that the clients compare the corporate behaviour to the people running the company.
However, to the outside eye they are and will always be compared to their competitors, no matter if they are the two guys around the corner or a multimillion dollar corporation. They will be judged on the building they reside in, no matter the size.
Too many times smaller companies are not paying attention to the detalis, it might be a logotype set in a bad font, self taken photogaphs, a badly coded web site, not thinking about what and how they communicate… They think “It’s good enough, people will know that we are nice guys who try the best we can” but, for the outsider, what is seen is broken windows here and there.