Competing with big business when you are a small business
No matter your industry, whether you are a laboratory performing testing, a company developing software or a grocery retailer, one of the biggest challenges is the competition you face. It may feel like it is hard to compete with large businesses, however there are some advantages to being a small business and can help you be more successful in the long run.
Promote your strengths
Figure out what makes you different and stand out from the crowd, then use that to your advantage to leverage your business. Use unique selling points and target specific customers instead of a broad range. Show your in-depth knowledge so that you are the first that comes to mind the next time a customer is considering purchasing your type of products or service. Focus on quality products and services instead of offering them at discounted prices like many large corporations. Be the best at what you do, not the biggest. If you are looking to expand a bit, consider partnering with a like-minded (but non-competitive) business to broaden your reach.
Provide great customer service
Customer service will keep your customers loyal; this should be the top priority for a small business because you can solve problems quickly and listen to the customer whereas large companies or corporations don’t have the time for this type of customer service. Go out of your way to help and make yourself available during business hours to add this personal touch. Customers respond to a friendly approach and will be much more likely to return. A more personal connection will go a long way.
Know your market
Focus on your brand, but don’t forget to keep tabs on your competitor. Knowing the current market and what your competitors are doing will help you better understand where the opportunities lie. You don’t need to focus on your competitors, but don’t ignore what they are doing either. Once you know the specific customer you want to reach, focus on them and don’t waste your efforts trying to reach everyone.
Attract (and keep) the best employees
Build the best team of employees, they will contribute to the success and will be worth the investment. Quality over quantity is key, make sure to hire people with a passion for your industry and can convey that passion to customers and colleagues. Avoid turnover by creating an environment that people want to work in. Promote a culture where employees can voice their concerns and you can be responsive. Make employees feel valued and appreciated. Make sure they feel they are trained appropriately, are paid generously and are overall treated like family instead of employees. Businesses can replicate products or prices, but you can’t replicate the people.
Leverage your size to stay on top
Big businesses have several people and departments that must approve changes before they hit the consumer, whereas in a small business you can pivot quickly. A small turn can create a huge change, use your agility to your advantage.
Don’t be afraid to set your business apart from big businesses, show your passion for your business and redefine your success by measuring it on the impact you have on the lives of your customers and suppliers and not just your bottom-line. By following these small business tips, you can become bigger by acting smaller. It takes purpose, passion and persistence, but is worth it!