4 ways your small business can compete with big companies

Sometimes owning a small business can feel like a constant struggle for relevance against huge competitors.

The good news is there are some key ways your small business may have an advantage over large businesses. Read below to learn more.

Perfect customer service

Businesses everywhere are catching on to the importance of customer service. In 2014, only 67% of Americans said that businesses were providing the customer service they needed. In 2017, 81% of U.S. consumers said that businesses were meeting or exceeding their expectations for customer service.

Meeting these expectations doesn’t mean giving each customer the red-carpet treatment. Customers want your customer service representatives to be:

  1. Pleasant
  2. Knowledgeable
  3. Quick

They also want your help to match the complexity of their issue. Simple requests should be self-service while representatives should be available for more difficult issues.

Small businesses can’t afford to spend resources on outrageous customer service programs. Instead, focus on providing quick and efficient help. When large companies fail to meet these expectations, you will be in a good position to retain their lost customers with consistently good service.

Pivot quickly

One of the biggest advantages that small businesses have over their large competitors is agility. Smaller organizations can quickly correct their course if they notice their current path isn’t producing the expected results. Large businesses usually can’t due to organizational bureaucracy and red tape.

In practice, this agility can be used to:

  • Find new markets for products and services;
  • Stop practices that are losing money for the business;
  • Follow trends in marketing and design; and
  • Innovating products and services.

To find the pivot points for your small business, you’ll need to be constantly evaluating results. Take risks that your large competitors can’t, and you could see huge returns.

Find a niche

No matter how badly you may want to, you can’t afford to compete with Amazon or Walmart in the number of products that you offer either in e-commerce or physical retail. You also can’t beat them in price. Small businesses can’t be everything to everyone, and that can feel discouraging.

What you can do is find a niche market and meet their needs exceptionally well. A great example is the difference between a large corporate gym like Planet Fitness or World Gym and a smaller, independently owned gym like Training Camp Nashville.

Planet Fitness and World Gym provide sophisticated fitness facilities that meet the general fitness needs of Nashvillians.

Training Camp Nashville offers specialized training in mixed martial arts (MMA). Including boxing, striking, wrestling and jiu-jitsu. Training Camp Nashville can compete with larger gyms because they are catering to a niche and providing the specialized services that their target market wants.

No matter what industry you’re in, find your niche to set yourself apart from the competition.

Connect through personal touches

Another point of differentiation for your small business can also be personal connection to your customers. When so-called “mom and pop” stores stay in business after a big box retailer moves into town, it’s because they are integrated into the community.

While this connection can be as simple as a hand-written thank-you note to a client, it can also go much farther. Small business owners, particularly in an entrepreneurship hotspot like Nashville, have a unique opportunity to become leaders in issues they care about. This leadership will set you apart from other small business competitors and can also put you in the conversation with larger organizations.

###pBusiness Studio programming, our Leadership Connect cohort training program and the Nashpreneurs platform for small business storytelling.

If you aren’t already a member of the Chamber, join today to start connecting with the Nashville community on a whole new level. Your business might also reach a whole new level.

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