Big companies use size and strength to bully smaller businesses and dominate the marketplace. However, there are strategies you can use to hold your own when large players—like Wal-Mart—come to town. Here are some of the best ways for a small business to compete with larger companies:
Provide outstanding customer service.
The happiest customers are the most loyal; it will put you above the competition. Big companies can afford to lose clients—especially if they complain—thinking they will have no choice but to come back. Put each one of your customers on a pedestal, and they will rarely fall to the competition.
Indulge your current customer base.
Concentrate on loyalty programs, increasing customer satisfaction and retention. The biggest advantage of small businesses is that they can respond quickly to changing tastes and interests. Pamper your customers, and prove to them how valuable they are to you.
Collaborate with other similar businesses.
Clustering with similar small businesses can help you lower costs to participate in the marketplace—even with things like office supplies and necessities. Sharing marketing costs can be a significant help.
Present exceptional values and loss leaders.
Loss leaders—with little or no profit margins—can help increase traffic and sales of items with higher profitability.
Retain your specific niche.
As a small business, you have what the monster retailers do not—specialty items, unique to the marketplace. Play to your strengths, and what helps you stand out.
Be an exemplary employer.
Treat your employees well, and protect your excellent reputation for fairness. Keeping quality employees is even more critical in this economic climate.
The Internet can be your friend.
Use online sources to your advantage—having a strong online presence can even things out between you and the big guys.
Be an expert in your field.
When you specialize on a particular product or service—and couple that with superior customer service—you are seen as the expert in the area. Professionalism should be a part of everything you do—first impressions count.
Offer a remarkable and unique product line.
The giant companies tend to provide a product that is dull and uniform—focus on the products or services that make you stand out from the crowd.