Staying competitive must be one of a business’s top priorities if it desires to become a force to reckon with in its market.
However, competing with the established big guns is one of the greatest challenges for small businesses. How does a fledgling SMB stamp become trusted and recognized by a large customer base with limited resources, inexperience, and just a handful of customers?
Here are 7 practical ways to go.
Deliver exceptional customer service
The early phase of your startup is the easiest time to deliver the best customer service. That’s because your customer base is small, so you have a chance to attend to each customer timely and attentively. By building a strong personal relationship with your first buyers, you entice them into becoming loyal brand ambassadors.
Buyers pursue positive relationships and experiences. Make a customer happier than they’ve ever been with any other big brand, and they’ll prefer doing business with you more.
Fire up your digital presence
We’re in a digital era, and you have a lot of digital marketing channels at your disposal.
With digital marketing, it’s easier for small businesses to compete with established large businesses than ever. You can get your name out there and reach your prospects with more personality through social media and targeted emails.
Many people will not do business with a brand just the first time they come across it. They’d have seen it several times in different places to have a significant level of trust.
Fortunately, social media, organic, and paid advertising allow you to spread your footprint online and portray yourself as an expert in your industry rather than a small newcomer.
Utilize branded content
People appreciate stories they can relate to. You speak to your prospects ‘ emotions by telling a relatable story and connecting it with your brand’s mission and vision, drawing them to your side.
Begin by thinking of the serious issues that affect your target customers. What are their pain points? Tell the story in an emotional but fun way, and tie it to your company values. This is known as branded content, a great way to put your name in front of your audience.
Outsource critical operations
Small businesses squabble for time and resources. For example, an e-commerce business tries to process orders, package, and ship them while maintaining store/warehouse inventory. Rather than doing all of that with your limited time and resources, consider outsourcing the supply chain so you can focus on offering customers exceptional service delivery.
For office-based services, information technology is critical to your operations. But why try to maintain and monitor your IT infrastructure with your limited time when you can leverage a managed service provider? If you’re wondering what is a managed service provider, consider it as a third party that takes your IT support services on its shoulders while you focus on your core operations. This usually helps you save on tech and staffing costs while giving you first-rate IT services, just like large corporations enjoy.
Build a strong reputation
Having a large business is not always equivalent to having a big brand reputation. In short, a business considered big might have a rather mediocre one. Try looking up that “big” store in your town and see what reviews the search engine comes up with. 3.5 stars out of 5? Only 20+ reviews! That’s the mediocre we’re talking about.
Being a small business but having a largely positive reputation is more rewarding than being physically big. So focus more on building a business reputation online by requesting feedback, responding to whatever reviews you obtain, and doing your best to keep customers satisfied every time.
Create a loyalty program
Many large-scale businesses have customer loyalty programs. It’s a way to retain customers by offering them discounts on repeat purchases. By leveraging a customer loyalty program, your brand can become competitive in that same regard.
Make sure your offer is juicy enough so that customers can feel good about supporting your brand while getting more bang for their buck.
Attract top talents
Your workforce is critical to your success. Employees can make or break any business. And their level of skill and dedication will determine how competitive they help you become on the national or global stage.
So you want to attract the best employees by having a good brand reputation, offering employees favorable and flexible working conditions, and creating an appealing culture. Consider perks that big companies offer their employees and try doing the same if possible.
You can do it
As a small business, you may quickly consider yourself a little fish in a pond full of sharks. That can be discouraging as it keeps you stunted, without zeal to compete with the big guys.
But the moment you realize you’re in a growing process and that those large corporations were once like you, your mentality will change. Yes, you can become big too.