Small business owners can find the competitive marketplace intimidating and baffling. Competing against other small businesses is difficult enough, but how can they go up against behemoths like Amazon and Argos with their massive marketing budgets and ability to absorb losses better? Product and service differentiation, of course, is essential, but small businesses also have to determine what they can do significantly better than large businesses.
Big companies may have size and be able to absorb impacts smaller ones can’t but smaller companies often have outstanding agility and ability to innovate quickly. Identifying their unique advantages is the underlying principle small businesses can use to excel in the marketplace. The specifics differ for every small business, but here are 5 ways smaller companies can compete effectively with larger brands.
1. Connect With Customers on a Different Basis Than the Big Players
Maybe your food co-operative can’t compete on price with huge grocers, but there are consumers for whom price is not the primary determinant of where they shop. They may find that paying a bit more for locally sourced goods is the most satisfying outcome for them. As another example, Toms is an American online shoe retailer that emphasises use of sustainable materials and donates products to the needy with every purchase. This provides a different type of connection for the shoe shopper than what a huge general retailer offers.
2. Deliver Expertise Huge Enterprises Cannot
Perhaps your small business specialises in a very specific type of equipment. Maybe you can’t beat Amazon on price, but you can certainly beat them on expertise, by filling your website with fresh, original, detailed content, expert Q-and-A pages, and customer service that answers questions with significant expertise and authority. With certain consumer products, devoted customers want more information about the products they buy than they can get from mass retailers, and smaller niche businesses are in the perfect position to provide this.
3. Develop and Execute an Excellent Branding Strategy
Whatever your industry, whatever your size, a branding strategy is an investment in your future. Exactly how your branding strategy looks is unique to your company, but it may involve a social media marketing campaign, advertising strategies, and the use of technology to reach more customers. Branding requires sustained attention, but it’s the sort of undertaking that builds upon itself. Waiting to strike it big before worrying about branding puts the cart before the horse. Branding should be part of your business from day one, no matter how small your operations.
4. Use Analytics and Data to Drive Decisions
Even the smallest business can use powerful, free web-based analytics to learn their website’s strengths and weaknesses and make smarter marketing and branding decisions. Massive amounts of relevant consumer data exists, and more is being generated all the time. When you use hard data rather than guesswork to drive business decisions, you make better decisions and spend your resources more wisely. Even if you run a small e-commerce site that sells a very select, curated collection of products, you can use analytics to make your site more effective and increase sales.
5. Realise the Power of Apps
Did you know developing a mobile app can address all the previous suggestions for competing more effectively? You can develop mobile app strategies to inform customers, share your expertise, build your brand, or optimise use of analytics. Developing a mobile app for use internally can make business processes more efficient, while developing a mobile app for customers helps you connect with them more effectively. Companies that develop mobile app strategies consider what you do and help you create apps for internal use to raise productivity, or for apps use by customers to raise your brand’s profile, and the possibilities are nearly limitless.
Few things are more satisfying than successfully running a small business, and you can compete effectively with big enterprises whilst maintaining the corporate personality, innovative spirit, and agility that makes smaller businesses superior in many ways. Developing a mobile app can be one of the smartest, most innovative ways your small business can make its mark.
At Glance, we develop mobile app strategies for UK businesses of all sizes and types. We start by listening and understanding what businesses want to accomplish and keep that at the forefront of the entire development process. And we don’t abandon you once your app goes live. Rather, we ensure your app does what you need it to do and that you’re satisfied with it. To learn more about how developing a mobile app can empower your small business, send us an enquiry and we’ll be in touch promptly to help you get started.
Simon has worked in the software industry for over 20 years; intent on always producing work of the highest standard and creating software products that genuinely makes things better for people. Simon has previously held positions ranging from Developer, Technical Consultant, Head of Development through to CTO and more recently founder and CEO of several high profile technology companies.