Competition is healthy. It forces us to do our best, right? Yes, it does—and this principle applies to businesses as well. Every successful company started small. Similarly, every small business has to compete with large businesses to survive and succeed.
One of the leading factors the latter businesses have is their resource availability and the purchasing power they have. Small businesses have their own advantages too. Would you like to know what these advantages are? If yes, let’s have a look at an example below.
EmoShape: A fascinating, clear example of a successful small company
It’s intriguing how a small business like EmoShape can compete with Google, IBM, and other large enterprises in the microprocessor industry. This New York-based company allows intelligent objects (AI engines, IoT, robots, etc.) to experience emotional states and learn how to interact with humans.
How did EmoShape manage to compete with those big companies?
Most small companies try to remain invisible to avoid a direct rivalry with big companies. EmoShape did the exact opposite, however.Instead, they used social media marketing to go head-to-head with bigger competitors. By surpassing them in such a direct clash, EmoShape gained more customers.
We mustn’t ignore the risk that comes with this strategy. What if those companies happened to crush EmoShape?
That’s the measured risk they confidently took to break into the market.
Recent surveys on small business growth
CNBC and SurveyMonkey carry out a survey every quarter to measure small business confidence. The latest report announced that 58% of small business owners say the overall situation for business growth is good. This is surprisingly better than previous quarters.
So, how exactly can a small business compete with big companies in 2019?
The year 2019 is here and it’s a chance to learn from past mistakes and define a better strategy. Small businesses can leverage their distinct advantages to go ahead as planned and succeed. Here are 10 effective nuggets for small businesses to compete with their larger counterparts.
1) Offer 24/7 customer support
The customer’s definition of “customer service” has changed. Being available 24/7 and equipped with relevant info whenever the customer requires assistance means you care about them.
Customers have a tendency to switch brands, but why? A mediocre customer service that cannot solve their queries swiftly is one of the reasons.
Companies that invest in reliable and responsive customer service do not face this problem. They get to satisfy their customers—always.
When your customer support is helpful and available 24/7, success is one step away. If you haven’t considered this, now is the time to do so. It’s the first step to compete with established names.
2) Start meeting business partners and associates
It can be hard to compete with well-known companies if your idea of doing business is like a zero-sum game. Either you win or lose alone.
Don’t forget that these companies have brand authority and reputation, resources, and world-class expertise. You can’t rival such a force, can you?
Contrary to what many entrepreneurs think, diving into a market populated by large enterprises is an opportunity.
Instead of seeing them as a rival, you can enter business partnerships with them. This gives you the perk to use their resources and expertise as guidance to grow and succeed.
Also, these companies usually need a local ally to reach more people. Once you understand their business goals, you can capitalize on them and become partners. It’ll be a win-win relationship for both of you.
A strategic partner would add to your knowledge and business intelligence. They may also offer services you can’t provide to existing and/or potential clients. This will give you more exposure to speed up your business operations.
Spotify and Uber is an excellent example of a strategic partnership. The music streaming service and ride-hailing company came together to provide combined personalized services.
Utilizing each other’s strengths may bring the odds of long-term success, but you’ll never know until you try.
You can also attract product evangelists and brand ambassadors. They make your products/services more valuable for others.
3) Keep your prices reasonable
Reasonable pricing is an imperative part of any business. Having a smart pricing strategy has always been effective in the marketplace.
There are numerous factors to consider and options to use. No matter what you do, always keep an eye on competitors’ pricing so you can have a competitive edge.
Keep in mind that offering an unreasonably low price is not that smart. Having a low price, when compared to others, is not mandatory to get customers. In fact, it can hinder your potential to attract the right audience and grow as a business.
At times, your prices can’t be lower than the competitors’. In that case, you can demonstrate how your price is more reasonable than others.
You can convince them with the quality of your services and products. You can bet that customers will be attracted to you.
4) Take risks; they’re rewarding
It’s evident that small businesses are flexible. Due to this flexibility, they tend to seize a much larger risk than established firms.
When it comes to those firms, the smallest change will take some work and time to enforce. For instance, a global e-commerce company could take months or years to accept any emerging trend.
You, on the other hand, can take risks. Act quickly on emerging trends to get new customers. This puts you ahead of the competition.
This is 2019. It’s even easier now than ever for small companies to deal with such risks. You can easily reach your ideal audience via digital marketing. PPC advertising and social media marketing are good techniques.
So, do not fear risks. Take them. The rewards can help expand your business from small to big.
5) Build trusted relationships with prospects and customers
One of the biggest advantages a small business has is the ability to connect directly with your audience. Consumers prefer businesses that engage with them by responding to a review, commenting on social media posts, etc.
Constant communication with them makes you professional. After all, business is all about dealing with people.
To dominate your field, market, or industry, you must first focus on personalizing the experience for each of your customers. Also, connecting with your customers directly helps you understand their pain points and discover new ideas.
Mingling with prospects and customers ultimately increases your customer base through mouth publicity, online reviews, and other social proof.
6) Get ready to adapt
With the level of competition today, there is a constant, never-ending struggle every small business must face. If you wish to survive in this competitive world, you must be ready to adapt.
Because their departments and procedural works are smaller, lesser-known companies can easily adopt new changes and current trends. For established companies, however, adaptation is not so easy.
Constantly moving forward and adapting new opportunities both affect business growth. That’s why it’s a necessity.
Let’s take Hewlett-Packard (HP) as an example. The IT giant sold electronic test equipment in their early era, and now look at them.
Similarly, let agility be a fuel that enables you to adopt new things and adapt to trends/changes. If you’re agile enough, you can reap benefits from new business opportunities.
7) Flaunt your USPs (unique selling propositions)
Let me ask you a question: What keeps motivating small businesses to forge ahead?
The answer would be sustainable growth. Sustainable growth against larger companies is one of the biggest challenges any small-business owner will face.
Nevertheless, the company’s genuine purpose gives rise to its USPs. What this means is, you should showcase the features that make your business distinct.
Collect features and factors that stand out from your big rivals, then implement a marketing strategy to unveil why potential customers should buy your service/product.
By highlighting these USPs, you give customers a personalized experience. This could make a difference. You can even convince them to switch brands and become your loyal customers.
To add, you can use digital marketing (on Facebook, Instagram, blogs, forums, etc.) to flaunt your USPs.
8) Provide better service
There are many steps in the decision-making process of any customer. Think about it. Whenever you find a range of products or services, do you just go for one or think “why should I choose this instead of that?”
This is one more reason to get customers to fall in love with your business.
We must track customer satisfaction and be aware of customers we could satisfy better than they are. Is there anything else we can provide to our customers that our competitors can’t?
Hence, as a small-business owner, better customer service must be a top priority to compete with reputable rivals and convert new customers. Similar to our first point, you must build trust by staying in contact with your customers.
And always remember this: The more value your business offers, the more likely customers are to remain loyal to your company.
9) Keep employees happy
This is often overlooked, but it’s more vital than any other factor. Keep your employees happy and make them feel secure.
Employees want to be respected, who doesn’t? That’s where small businesses have an advantage. Since their size is small, such businesses have less bureaucracy and more interactions with employees.
Please, strive to make employees feel good and appreciated. It helps attract the best candidates and retain the best employees. The ultimate result is increased productivity.
To further understand my point, let’s have a look at Aflac’s small business happiness survey. The 2018 survey asked 1,000 small-business employees across the United States how happy they are and 87% were reported happy.
10) Discover new ideas to achieve sales goals
Last but not least, if you can’t achieve your sales goals, none of this matters.
Sales is key to success. It determines the health of any organization—whether big or small. If you show more concern toward sales, your profits will definitely upsurge.
In October 2018, Infusionsoft set up an online questionnaire to survey a number of small-business owners. The questions were about small business ownership. One of the surveys was about the marketing goals of small businesses in 2019. The responses have been outlined in the chart below.
From the above report, we can see that 28% of small-business owners’ leading goals is to drive more sales. Retaining and re-engaging customers remains one of the top marketing goals for the year.
Whenever there is a comparison, it’s vital to understand the similarities and dissimilarities. Using this logic, let’s agree that small businesses have to be better than large companies to succeed.
We’ve looked at 10 different ways small enterprises can triumphantly compete with their bigger competitors. The journey might be doubting and dawdling, but success is certainly possible.
Do you have a tip to help other small businesses achieve their goals? Feel free to share it in the comment section below.