Today, when consumers want to make a purchase, they don’t just head to a store – most people first use their digital devices (desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones) to search for merchants and get the information they need to make a smart purchase. Customers compare prices, service offers, reviews online before making final decisions and heading out to a store or ordering online.
This gives small businesses a much better chance to succeed against big-name stores. A real-world example of this is NewEgg.com and BestBuy: NewEgg.com began as a small business that was able to leverage its E-Commerce website to compete directly with Best Buy. Because NewEgg has much lower overhead costs, NewEgg was able to price their products slightly below similar products at BestBuy stores. NewEgg.com gradually began winning over many customers.
While I like BestBuy for its great customer service and nice showrooms, they did not enter the E-Commerce market soon enough to leverage the Internet to their advantage. This example shows how the Internet enables small businesses to compete successfully with much bigger businesses, at a much lower cost. Now I will share other important things small businesses can do to better compete with big players. Lets get started.
First, as a small business owner you should thoroughly research 3-5 of your large, direct competitors. You should know their specialties, strengths, weakness, and the stories behind their successes. The more you learn the better you can strategize your approach to compete. Think of those big companies as an elephant, and your business as a mouse. The more you know the strengths and weakness of the elephant, the more effectively you can compete for your own portion of cheesecake. Don’t let their size intimidate you.
Second, find innovative ways to meet your customers’ needs more effectively and efficiently than bigger competitors, using new approaches, technologies and tools. It’s tough for big companies to implement new changes, because it takes longer for large numbers of people within a big company to adapt to new changes. The bureaucracy and old thinking within big companies are often roadblocks to changes. Knowing this weakness of the “elephants,” you can innovate to move faster with newer, better products and services at competitive prices.
While researching your bigger competitors, find innovative ways to serve your customers better. Pay attention to the products and services that big companies are not interested in providing, because they do not yield high enough returns to make it worth their effort. As a small business with a lower overhead, you may yield positive returns on some of those products and services that the bigger companies don’t provide. Niches like this may be worth capitalizing on because there may not be as much competition to win market share in these areas. These niches can become the fuel that keeps your small business in the game, and gives you more time to find opportunities to better compete with big adversaries.
Third, establish a professional website for your small business. Since your business’ reputation and brand are less known to your target customers, it’s extremely important to have a professional website that presents well to your prospects. Your website will likely be the first thing customers know about you and your business, so be sure to use it to make a great first impression and increase your brand’s awareness.
Let great customers’ testimonials speak for you on your professional website and share those comments on your business’ social media pages. Research has shown that social-media-shared word-of-mouth (or word-of-mouse) spreads six times wider than traditional word-of-mouth. Today, as more consumers use the Internet for their daily work, socializing, and to search and shop, your new website will be the most effective and low-cost way to boost your business’ reputation.
Fourth, invest in digital marketing to make sure your website stands out, and comes up, in the top 10 of search engine rankings (Google.com and Bing.com). The Internet has leveled the playing field for most businesses, and this marketing helps you to leverage the web to your advantage as much possible. In fact, you should move quickly before your big competitors find ways to consolidate their resources to make it more difficult for you to compete.
Fifth, keep a close pulse on changes in technologies and market trends, and then adjust your business strategies accordingly. Remember today, in the information age, the success of a business is no longer determined solely by the size of their budget, or their flashy storefront, but by the power of their online-network, and how quickly they adapt to changes.
There are more billionaires in their twenties and thirties today than ever before – these successful people adapted to changes quickly. — Be confident, be the digital mouse that leverages the Internet and new technologies, to take on the elephants. I wish you all the best! I hope you find this article helpful, if you do please share it with others. Thank you for reading!