It’s like David versus Goliath in the corporate world. It’s a war zone – small business can sometimes feel swallowed by much larger companies, especially on a local level. How can a local diner compete with a chain restaurant that moves in across the street? How can small boutiques lure customers away from the convenience of purchasing an item online and having it delivered a couple of days later?
Even in an age when convenience dominates the customer market, small businesses can win customers. In fact, the drive toward online shopping can work in a small business’s favor, especially if that business is a brick-and-mortar shop. There are benefits to the in-person shopping experience that online retailers can’t duplicate, despite their attempts to do so. Here are seven ways your brand can take advantage of those benefits and win customers away from larger businesses.
Here are ways on how small business can compete with large business:
- Find your niche. If the market niche or niches you are considering are very small markets, you may want to retain some products and services that appeal to a wider range of customers, but have exceptional product depth in a few niche areas. In simple terms, you have to specialize on one thing. The first place to start differentiating yourself is in the products you sell or the services you provide. If you’re a local shop, carry items your customers can’t easily find somewhere else. A local boutique may sell a collection of unique items its owner finds while shopping around with distributors, combined with items made by local artisans or bakers. This not only has the benefit of giving your customers something they can’t get elsewhere, it supports local artists and bankers, pumping money back into the local economy. If you’re a service provider, you’ll have to bring an extra touch to compete with bigger brands. Often customers choose local providers due to word-of-mouth recommendations and online reviews. You’ll have to work hard to keep customers happy so that the word will spread about the service you provide.
- Be competitive with pricing. Larger companies often win customers simply by virtue of being cheaper. As a small business, this means you must remain aware of the going rates for the products you’re providing and price your items either at that point or below. You can do this pricing comparison online usually, since many brands now put their prices on their websites for customers to see. Service-based businesses should make it easy for customers to pay. This may mean an invoicing process that incorporates one-click online payment. Often, however, it means setting it up so that your service team can accept credit card payments while on the go. Mobile card readers are a great option for growing businesses, since they allow employees to accept payments using their existing smartphones or tablets.
- Use advanced high-end tech tools. Business intelligence solutions are not just for enterprise businesses anymore. There are marketing systems priced from $30 to $1200 a month. Drag-and-drop tools that sync multiple databases to easily visualize data in different ways are available for under $300 a month. Small business owners and managers can now easily analyze business data without needing an IT staff to do it. Today’s small businesses have the advantage of operating in an era where technology can make even a small business seem large. Cloud tools like accounting software, CRM applications, and business intelligence platforms can give an entrepreneur easy oversight of each aspect of his operations.
You have to study your competition as well or the giants in your industry. You may not be able to keep up with your competitor’s strategy move by move. You should, however, be ready and able to blunt or block the impact of their moves. Then, later, you can make your own offensive move at your own pace and in your own home court – just like David.