Small business owners face plenty of challenges and keeping pace with larger big-brand companies is often at the forefront. Playing David to the corporate giants’ Goliath is no easy feat. When you find yourself fretting over how you’ll compete with bigger stores, it helps to concentrate on what your small business brings to the table that larger retailers can’t.
1. Deeper customer connections
As a small business owner, you have a unique opportunity to connect with people on a personal level. Get to know the people who are frequenting your business and take the time to understand their preferences. Listen to the people who are contributing to your bottom line, so you can mold your business and create personalized customer experiences.
If you own a bookstore, for example, you’re likely in tune with what your regular clientele is reading. That knowledge makes it easier to make recommendations or create in-store events that can lead to sales. A customer who walks into a large bookstore, on the other hand, may be on their own when it comes to picking out their next read.
2. Increased agility
In the business world, trends can change at the drop of a hat. Because of this, business owners have to be able to roll with the punches to stay competitive. Small businesses have an advantage over larger companies in terms of their ability to pivot and reshape their game plan when the market changes.
For instance, adopting a new form of technology, such as an upgraded Point of Sale system, may be less arduous for a specialty grocer who runs one store. A large supermarket chain may take several months to upgrade their system. The same is true for projects such as updating your business website or launching a re-branding campaign. When you operate on a smaller scale, there may be fewer delays and less lag time when a change is necessary.
3. Tighter focus
Running a small business means there’s less room for error, but that can be a positive when compared to bigger businesses. Think of it this way: Big box retailers can be like a buffet. They always have to stock many different items. Their customers can stock up on groceries, buy new tires and fill prescriptions all in one spot.
While that’s certainly convenient, a smaller business is better positioned to hone in on exactly what products and/or services are most important to customers. That in turn makes it easier to see what’s working and what’s not, so you can ditch any dead weight dragging your business down.
4. Added value
One mistake business owners can make is in believing they have to slash prices to stay competitive with larger stores. While that may help drum up some business, lowering your prices not only diminishes profits, but can also have the unintended consequence of causing customers to view your products and services as being lower quality.
A smarter alternative is to take a step back and look at what your business offers to its customers beyond monetary value. Do you have a deep well of knowledge about a particular topic that you’re able to share? Can you provide products or services faster than a big-name company would? Does your store offer a welcoming atmosphere that customers will want to return to again and again?
These are the kinds of questions you should be considering if you’re having trouble figuring out what gives your business an edge over the corporate competition. The more detailed you can be in your answers, the better. Listen to customer feedback and monitor your sales trends if you’re drawing a blank. Ultimately, knowing what your customers want, need and expect is essential for solidifying your business’s position in a crowded marketplace.
Strategic Funding provides needed operating funds to small businesses. Strategic Funding has helped businesses in hundreds of industries. Industries served include: restaurants, personal services, construction, medical, manufacturing, agriculture, retail stores, automotive, and food stores.