If you're a small (or emerging) arts organization . . . or an individual artists, here are some the advantages you have over the big guys.
1. You're David. They are Goliath. Nobody loves Goliath. Yes, they may go see their stuff . . . but love is a different matter.
2. You can make decisions quickly.
3. You can access the impact of those decisions quickly.
4. You can make new decisions quickly.
5. You can have more personal, more frequent interactions with your audience/fans
6. You can make bolder artistic choices because seriously . . . what do you have to lose?
7. You can change your entire artistic direction at the drop off a hat
8. You can experiment with new ideas in terms of organizational design and infrastructure because seriously . . . what do you have to lose?
9. If someone in the outside word wants to talk to someone "in charge", they can reach that person without going through a bunch of gatekeepers
10. It's easier to grow. Going from a budget of zero to one of $150,000 . . . not that hard. Going from 1 million to $1,150,000 . . . much harder.
11. Your audience hasn't developed a set of expectations about you that have been well honed over the years (decades?) which can allow you to exceed or defy those expectations.
Those are a few, I'm sure you can think of others. Now here's the big thing:
Don't forfeit your advantages.
Here's what I mean:
If your a small organization that takes as long to make your decisions, adjust your strategies, etc. as a big one . . . then you are forfeiting an advantage.
If you are taking less artistic risk, you are forfeiting an advantage.
If you aren't interacting with your audience/patrons more frequently, you are forfeiting an advantage.
Don't do that. Work hard to maintain every edge that you can.