It’s every small business owner’s dream to one day develop and expand their business to defeat the big conglomerates that have ruled the economy and market share for years. Not only do you want to bring great service to your customers, provide them with the best products, and maybe even churn a profit or two, but you also want to make sure the world knows that your homemade, grassroots, small business is bigger and better than the competition. Yep, I think that pretty much has it covered.
Unfortunately, most small business owners only have a few resources and a limited budget. Hardly the materials required to beat out the big box companies with the wide reach and deep pockets. Or is it? Can your small business muster the strength to fight off the Walmarts, Best Buys, and Fords of this world? Well, if you’re looking for a little inspiration, just think of the story of David and Goliath. A little guy defeats the big guy. Plain and simple. And your small business has the ability to follow in David’s footsteps.
In the story, David had five smooth stones that he was ready to chuck at Goliath, although in the end, he only needed one. Below I’ve outlined five major points of differentiation that any small business owner can use to take out their competition. You might need more than David did, but adopting a few of these strategies for your small business just might be enough to help you compete against the Goliaths of the business world.
Stone #1: Your Customers
Your customers are going to be your most powerful stone. As the lifeblood of your business, you need customers to not only buy your products or service, but to recommend them to their friends, to share their experience online, to come back when they need a refill, and so on. Your customers make your business go round. Reach out to your customers, involve them in company decisions, ask for feedback, offer promotions, and give thanks. Keeping your customers happy will lead them back to your shop each and every time, even if the competition can do it for cheaper.
Stone #2: Finding A Niche
Every company wants to be a Ford or a Best Buy, meaning a company that has something for everyone. Whether you need a truck to get the job done or a speedy little car to get around, Ford has you covered. Likewise, whether you’re shopping for a new printer or picking up some headphones, Best Buy can help you out. And while you can aspire to turn your company into a warehouse of anything and everything your customers could ever want, you’ll only end up stretching your small budget too thin.
Instead, find your niche. For instance, Aston Martin might not have a car for everybody, but they have the right car for those speed and luxury enthusiasts. Furthermore, Apple computers doesn’t make devices that fit every budget or offer every program available, but they found their niche as a manufacturer of top-of-the-line hardware that supports the most creative endeavors. Neither of these companies offer something for everyone, but the customers they do cater to sure are happy. Find your niche and make the customers you do have extremely satisfied.
Stone #3: Embracing Localization
Global companies like Walmart are everywhere, and that makes them hard to compete with. But your small business has an advantage they don’t: being local. There has been a huge economic shift to focus on local businesses, local suppliers, and local shops. These places have a more down-to-earth feel, a more honest approach that makes consumers feel comfortable, like they’re right at home. So instead of being everywhere, embrace the local aspect of your business. Advertise in local papers, on local channels, and through local events like farmer’s markets. Your customers will feel the warmth your small business has to offer.
Stone #4: Being More Than Social, Being Personable
Small business and large corporations alike have been turning to social media to connect with their customers, but again, your small business has the opportunity to do so much more than your large competitors. Not only are you free of corporate policies and high-paid marketing managers, you have a friendly and approachable demeanor that you can use to give a voice to your social media brand. Connect with your customers as you would in store. Offer funny content, have a contest or two, and feature a new customer every month. Your small business has a voice unlike any major corporation out there.
Stone #5: Search Engine Marketing
While you should already be doing search engine optimization (SEO) in order to compete, you should explore search engine marketing (SEM), as well. Also known as paid search, cost-per-click, and pay-per-click, programs like Google AdWords allow your company to reach the top of search results pages that are relevant to your business and keywords. This is a fast and efficient way to get your company’s name out there, right along side if not in front of the big guys. Explore SEM to start getting your company to the top of the list.
The little guy defeating the big guy is a tale as old as time. David was able to defeat the giant, Goliath, and so can your company overcome the big box competitors.
- License: Creative Commons image source