By: Liz Jacob
For small businesses, competing with large corporations can seem like a battle of David vs. Goliath. Given their limited staff and access to resources, small businesses often lack the name recognition necessary to secure larger, more lucrative contracts.
But while the going may be tough for small businesses, it’s no reason to give up. David fought back, and so can you. Bigger isn’t always better, and as a small business owner, it’s your task to prove that to your customers. Compete with the big guys with these simple tips:
David may have used a slingshot to take down Goliath, but you have Twitter. Use social media to turn your company’s size from a weakness into a strength. Large corporations are notoriously unapproachable, hiding behind automated customer service departments and generic web “Contact” forms. Show your customers that there’s a team of real people behind your business. Whether it’s through daily Tweets about company activity or fun Instagrams of office hijinks, give a face to your company by maintaining a strong social media presence.
Whereas bigger businesses might manage their customer service through telephone hotlines with painfully annoying music on hold, your company should strive for greater directness. Give your company a voice by answering customers’ comments and complaints on Twitter and Facebook in a fun, personable tone. At the end of the day, your customers want to know that they’re dealing with humans, not robots. Actively respond to their questions and concerns, and you’ll build a level of customer loyalty that no large corporation can match.
Steal business from your competition by specializing your company’s offerings to meet the needs of your target demographic. Many larger companies try to do it all, developing as large a diversity of offerings as possible in the effort to attract new customers. But while variety may be the spice of life, it’s not always the best philosophy for product development. Whether it’s custom stationery, gluten-free cookies, or bespoke handbags, pick a niche and master it. In a world defined by capitalistic mass production, customers will appreciate the extra effort taken by your company to create a truly refined product.
While larger companies have to work to convince customers of their products’ craftsmanship, consumers of your business’ offerings should have no doubts about the quality of your work. By marketing your company as an expert in the field, you’ll be sure to draw customers away from larger companies claiming to be jacks-of-all-trades.
Increase your working capital.
Even the smallest of businesses can’t do without extra capital to achieve their goals. When you first start a company, it doesn’t always make sense to seek funding. The early stages of any startup are rocky. They’re a time when you should be focusing on honing your company strategy—not worrying about making debt payments. However, once you’ve perfected your approach, it’s time to seek funding. Business loans aren’t just for the big guys, and small business loans aren’t as hard to come by as post-recession business journalism has made it out to be. Indeed, organizations like the US Small Business Administration want small businesses to succeed to create jobs and stimulate the economy. Seek out their help, apply for a loan, and take your business to the next level.