How do small companies compete with bigger rivals? Much like the story of David and Goliath, most of us might initially expect small businesses to be the underdog when going head-to-head with big corporations. But, as we all know, having the proper tools can have a huge impact on how the story ends.
That’s what we’re here to help you out with.
We’ve dug deep to provide you with the top 5 strategies that small business owners can put to use in order to stay in the fight. Don’t get left in the shadows – use the methods below to claim your share of the spotlight.
How to compete with big brands
One of the first steps that every business owner should take when establishing their company is to study the competition. Knowing how your prosperous competitors operate will shed light on industry trends and standards, which in turn makes it easier for you to know how to price your services, what marketing strategies work best in your industry, and so on.
But how do small companies compete with bigger rivals that seem to have optimized their approach?
Let’s use a quick example:
When Amazon started back in 1994, it was focused on selling books. Yes, actual physical books – and that’s all.
25 years later, we see that Amazon has taken enormous leaps and bounds to become the largest company by market value in the United States – today Amazon is valued at $797 billion and sells pretty much any and every thing you might want to buy .
Small business owners are probably scratching their heads wondering how to stay competitive in business when the odds appear to be so dramatically stacked against small companies competing with large multinationals. Luckily, there are a number of strategies for how to keep up with big brands.
Here, we’ll cover 5 business competition strategies that will give your business the edge that it needs to stay in the race with large corporations.
How can a startup compete with big companies? Keep reading and find out.
Top 5 business competition strategies
1. Build personal relationships with customers
If you’re looking for ways on how to compete with big brands, this has got to be one of the best strategies small businesses use to go about it. Large-scale corporations invest their time and energy into generating a high volume of sales with fairly marginal profits. What they’re typically not doing is providing quality customer service because, to put it bluntly, they don’t have to.
Small companies competing against larger multinationals should use business competition strategies that give them an upper-hand, and building personal relationships with customers is one of the most effective.
Some business owners hold onto the idea that clients are purely rational and simply calculate and compare costs, but that isn’t really the case. People aren’t just looking for the lowest prices, they’re also aiming to spend their money at a place that they genuinely like.
How to strengthen customer relationships:
- Go out of your way to help your customers find the right product/service
- Pleasantries go along way – remember to smile, say thank you, ask how they’re doing
- If you own a very small business, you may even start to remember your customer’s names – something they’d highly appreciate
When a customer trusts and knows you, there’s not a whole lot that can get in the way of them returning to use your services or purchase your products. Focus on providing an unforgettable and truly special customer experience, and that will be one of the keys to staying competitive with big corporations.
2. Find your niche
Let’s be frank, if you’re looking for a specific product then chances are you’ll be able to find it on Amazon. But, what Amazon won’t provide you is expertise.
For example, if you own a restaurant and you want to get a new piece of equipment, you’ll find a lot of options to choose from on Amazon. But, you won’t have any of their employees offering you guidance on how to compare specific brands, which is better for particular tasks, where to turn to for installation, and so on.
Small businesses should use their size as an advantage, instead of stretching their resources out thin to try and meet the same standards as big companies. By specializing your business for a particular pocket of the industry, you’ll offer something that big corporation aren’t able to.
Also, focusing on a small segment of the customer pool allows smaller businesses to establish a foothold and gradually grow from there.
Stop trying to compete directly with large-scale businesses that offer extraordinarily wide varieties of products – it’s a difficult endeavor, and you’ll find that the odds aren’t in your favor. Tap into more specific categories of customers and offer unique products and services as a way to create a niche for your service.
3. Reach out to other small businesses
How can a startup compete with big companies? Team up with other small businesses!
Don’t let the big corporations use the ‘classic divide-and-conquer’ technique against you and other neighboring businesses. When Walmart moves in and offers prices that you can’t compete with, having a network of partner businesses can serve as a strong defense.
Finding businesses that you can form partnerships with is one of the most effective ways to get an edge on the competition for several reasons.
You can organize with partner businesses to offer promotions and special deals that work to the benefit of both companies, and to the community as well.
Local consumers will often want to be contributing back into their community and not to some far-removed, faceless entity. So, the deeper you integrate yourself within the local network, the more resilient your business will be in the face of competition from big corporations.
Benefits of networking with other small businesses:
- Increase your business’s exposure
- Build your reputation within the local community
- Improve engagement with local customers
- Develop new and exciting incentives that will grow your client list
4. Show your personality
Big businesses are logos, your small business has a real face to it – yours. Get out there and flaunt it!
There is true value that comes as a result of turning the customer experience into a personal one. When people are able to put a face to the business, it naturally leads them to form an emotional connection that simply doesn’t happen when they walk into a big retail store.
This is one of the most significant advantages that small businesses possess over corporations, and too much of the time they neglect to put their small size to good use.
Share your business story. Discuss why you got into the business in the first place – maybe it’s a family enterprise and it was passed down to you.
Talk about why your service is unique. Maybe you obtain resources exclusively from local providers, or perhaps you refuse to use tons of preservatives in your products.
In short, reinforce the emotional side of things and you’ll see how your customers will begin to feel a real connection to you and your company. If you’re in need of ways on how to compete with big brands, then always be sure to use your differences to your advantage.
5. Take risks
Sometimes what may appear to be an advantage in one context can actually turn out to be a huge obstacle when looked at from a different perspective.
For example, elephants use their enormous size to keep predators like lions at bay. And it works really well! Yet although their size is a benefit on the one hand, it comes as a big disadvantage when elephants want to hide from human poachers.
The ‘double-edged sword’ analogy applies to huge corporations as well. While their business models are obviously well thought-out and successful in terms of bringing in revenue, corporations have a very difficult time when it comes to changing things up.
The fact is, it’s easier for you as a small business to venture into the unknown than it is for big corporations.
Small businesses, for all of their disadvantages, are able to put changes into effect without rocking the boat too much.
Maybe you want to change the menu at your restaurant, or perhaps you’re looking to start offering additional services. One of the best business competition strategies is to not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone – there’s a lot to gain from taking calculated risks.
If you’re hesitating to take the leap of faith because of financing setbacks, explore the business loans options that are available to you.
By applying through Lending Express for a business loan, you may be able to get funded in as little as 3 hours. Financing is one important factor when considering the ways of how to stay competitive in business.
How to stay competitive in business
Aside from the top 5 ways on how to compete with big brands listed above, we want to share a couple more pointers that can help you have a fighting chance in business. The following tips are just as helpful when it comes to enhancing your company’s success.
1. Grow your social media presence
Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. We all know the big names, but not everyone is making full use of these awesomely useful social media platforms. Why should you start getting your business involved on social media?
Well, for one, it goes hand-in-hand with the point made above about showing your personality. You can post pictures of yourself and your work team, promotions and special offers, important events or milestones, etc. Your company’s brand isn’t just about a logo and a mission statement – social media presence is an increasingly important factor in developing a business identity that people will relate to and remember.
Secondly, it’s estimated that roughly two-thirds of Facebook users rely on the platform as their primary source of news. The rates are even higher for Twitter, with 71% of users claiming to get their news from that feed. It should be clear from these statistics alone that if you aren’t active on social media, you’re putting your business at a big disadvantage. You can get the exposure that your small business so desperately needs by opening free accounts on the variety of social media platforms out there.
What social media can do for your business:
- Offer you a way to advertise for free
- Build a community around your company
- Network with other businesses
- Give customers a way to find your business and learn more about it
- Keep you up-to-date on news in your industry
2. Use SaaS to streamline operations
Aside from social media, the recent boom in technological innovations has brought with it a new array of tools that some small business owners still haven’t gotten exposed to. The term that defines this new strain of product is ‘Software as a Service’, or SaaS.
Big corporations have the advantage of being able to hire employees to take care of virtually any task or assignment. That can range from designing a website to scheduling meetings between different departments within the company, and much more.
Software as a service acts as a way to even the playing field for all businesses drastically by providing affordable (and oftentimes free) platforms that make otherwise complicated tasks much easier to handle.
As one example, you might not have the funds necessary to hire a consultant to design a website for your business. In that case, you can use a service such as Wix to build a website on your own from the bottom-up. Wix is easy to use, offering an intuitive drag-and-drop layout to help you develop an eye-catching site that will keep clients interested and engaged.
Another example of SaaS is Monday.com, which allows you to step beyond basic weekly or monthly planning and start keeping your team organized with seamless task management. You have the ability to use comments and attachments in order to collaborate and communicate clearly with team members across different departments on any number of projects.
You should take some time to explore the wide variety of services that you can use to make your business operate smoothly, both internally and externally.
It’s not the size of the dog in the fight…
It’s the size of the fight in the dog!
We’ve armed you with the teeth you’ll need to take a big bite out of your industry. Don’t be intimidated by the loud barks made by big corporations. In reality, the chances of your small business succeeding are in your hands more than they are in the hands of your biggest competitors.
Don’t waste your time worrying about what those multinational corporations are capable of. Instead, shift your focus to what they aren’t capable of, and capitalize on their shortcomings
We truly hope you found the information in this article useful. And if there are any questions that you feel were left unanswered, kindly let us know below.