Now more than ever, many entrepreneurs are motivated to build their small businesses and be their own boss. But even with great products and services, a motivated team and a unique brand, they find themselves struggling to compete with big businesses. These struggles coupled with the ongoing pandemic have made it even more difficult for small businesses to keep their doors open, let alone succeed.
With that said, there are also many small businesses that prosper and are able to remain robust in today’s economy! That is exactly why we interviewed eight successful small business owners and asked them what their secret to competing with big businesses is. Curious as to what the secret sauce is? Keep reading to find out.
Specialize in One Area
The key to being a successful small business is to specialize in one area and know your target market backward & forwards. By knowing exactly what you do and who you serve, you can stand out from the competition and build yourself a strong reputation in that market. For example, Markitors specializes in SEO for small businesses because as a small business ourselves, we share a unique perspective with our clients. Because we don’t sell them anything we don’t do for our own business, it creates a strong sense of trust and community.
Nikitha Lokareddy, Markitors
Learn From Them
Instead of watching bigger businesses succeed out of envy, learn from them. Take note of the ways in which they engage with their consumers and you will find that many of these techniques work for small businesses as well. Small businesses often have the advantage of knowing their customers more personally than large corporations, so connect with them. Social media and store events are techniques big businesses use that are just as effective for smaller ones when done correctly.
Bob Newstrom, Arrow Lift
Embrace Being a Small Business
Embrace being a small business. Use that element to your advantage in crafting a brand story. An advantage of being a small business is that you have greater control over how you want your business to appear to your audience. You are not confined to such a brand guide like major corporations. Create the ideal image for you that fits your business, community and customer base.
Vanessa Molica, The Lash Professional
Create a Reasonable Budget
Don’t try to act like you’re one of the big guys. As a small business, if you try to compete with big businesses as if you have a big business budget, you will throw away everything you have worked toward for nothing in return. Instead, create a reasonable budget for your size of business and develop techniques that fit within it. Maybe social media campaigns work best for you and cost a fraction of the price of a billboard on a major highway.
Henry Babich, Stomadent Dental Lab
More than ever, it is important for small businesses to focus on their strength: customer care.
Customers will pay more for attention to detail. Online shopping is easy, but we are built for connection. We want to feel special and be treated with respect. We want experiences! Small businesses should invest in equipping and training their employees to be champions in the ring of customer service.
Lorraine Bossé-Smith, Leadership Development Coach
Be a Disrupter
Just remember the concept of disruptive innovation. That’s where a small company (or solopreneur) without a lot of resources can challenge bigger companies. While it’s sometimes a function of having lower prices, more often it’s finding a niche that the big dogs have left behind. Large companies have to focus on areas that make large profits. Disrupters can look for smaller slices and then watch them grow.
Rick DeBruhl, Communication Consultant
Invest In Your Company’s Strength
You have to play to your own strengths to win at any competition. Ali famously used his endurance against Foreman, so what’s your company’s greatest strength? Perhaps it’s a highly engaged audience or a really strong brand voice. You won’t get ahead by attempting to recreate what your competitors are doing. Instead, invest heavily in what your company does well.
Rob Bellenfant, TechnologyAdvice
Just because a business is bigger doesn’t mean they are a better fit. When a small business focuses on the needs of their prospects and speaks to that need, they can differentiate themselves. One advantage of being small is the ability to be nimble. Small businesses are able to adjust to a client’s needs, or make modifications quickly. That is not only difficult for a bigger business but they often don’t see a need to do it.
Diane Helbig, Helbig Enterprises