Creative Ways To Compete With Big Business

We found a recent article that is really interesting from Stephanie Chandler that addresses the issue of competing against bigger companies.  She offers a lot of good information in her article.

As always we are looking for ways to help you and your business!

COMPETITION NOTHow to Position Your Small Business Against Big Competitors

By Stephanie Chandler

National Small Business Week is upon us, and it’s a week that matters to me as an entrepreneur. Small business is the lifeblood of our economy, and in the spirit of keeping small business thriving, it’s important that you know how to position your business against your biggest competitors. Whether your biggest competitor is a corporate goliath or another business that is a little bigger than yours, you CAN compete. But, you’ve got to have a plan of attack.

To get started, it’s essential that you learn about your competition. What products and services do they offer? What do they charge? What is the customer experience like? This information is your ammunition. Prepare to talk to your prospective clients about the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and what bigger and better benefits your company provides.

Be Clear About Your Own Strengths and Weaknesses
Do you know what makes your business different? In addition to positioning your business against competitors, you need to be able to articulate your company’s direct benefits to clients. How does what you offer improve their world in some way? And how is that different from what your competitors offer?

Most companies compete with one or more of the following customer benefits:

Lower prices – It can be hard to compete with the pricing offered by big box competitors, but they are the ones that can afford to compete based on price because they have more buying power to get larger discounts. In most cases, I don’t recommend that small businesses aim to offer the lowest prices. Instead, choose one of the other benefits as your focus. You wouldn’t open up “Mama’s Burger Palace” next door to a fast food restaurant and try to compete with their prices. In this case, you would be better off focusing on the quality of the food. It can also be incredibly difficult to make a living selling burgers for $.99. Try to avoid being the low price leader.

Larger variety –This is another area where the bigger companies often excel. If you are unable to compete on selection, focus on the other benefits listed below.
Higher quality – Your business can shine if you provide a better quality solution. For example, a small business that produces a durable backpack for kids—guaranteed to last the entire school year and beyond—can charge more than the companies that make the flimsy backpacks that last just a few months.

Unique difference – Every small business should attempt to compete based on something that is unique and different. For example, a boutique clothing shop may have higher prices than the discount department store in the same mall, but because the small shop offers special fashions that can’t be found elsewhere, it can thrive based on that difference.

Better service – Very few large companies can claim to offer great service because most run call centers overseas or have minimum wage employees as the first line of customer contact. Small businesses should strive to offer great service because it provides a tremendous competitive edge and can also lead to word of mouth marketing.

I recently visited a local bicycle shop with the goal of getting myself a shiny new beach cruiser. I was immediately greeted by a friendly employee who showed me several options and helped me decide which bike best fit my needs. I also decided to add some accessories to the bike, which he installed on the spot at no extra charge. Then he loaded the bike up for me in the car and I was on my way. Sure, I could have gone to a big box store and paid a little less, but there is no way I would have had such a pleasant buying experience. As a result, I’ve already referred three friends to Bob’s Cycle Center.

Clear Expertise – This is one of my favorites for small business, because when you establish yourself as an expert—an authority in your field—you can easily compete to win clients. For example, if you’re a personal trainer who specializes in helping clients over 50 lose weight, imagine how you will stand out against the average personal trainer who doesn’t have a specialty.

Note that your expertise can also encompass serving a niche, which is another powerful way to crush the competition. We have a local auto mechanic who only works on Japanese cars, and his shop is located a block away from a general mechanic. If your Honda Accord needed service and you were in the vicinity, which shop do think you’d pull into?

You can’t possibly incorporate ALL of the above benefits into your business, but when you cultivate two or three, you can gain a tremendous advantage over your competitors.

Remember, not everyone values the lowest price. Many appreciate personalized service, better results, higher quality and working with experts.
See more of Stephanie Chandler at:

Here is a video to give you some more ideas about competing with your big competitors!

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