Competing with small businesses

15 August, 2012

Competition is good because it gives you the opportunity to learn from each other and further expand your business. However, overtaking competition can be a warning sign that you are doing something wrong, or that someone else is doing something different that is attracting customers. You, as a businessman must view competition as a time to introspect and investigate. The good thing is that you know who your competition is. So, you can study them and their activities and see how you can improve your already existing business.

Studying your competition

When you study your competition you must try to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your own business as well as theirs. Compare their position to yours. Is it the location of their business that gives them an edge over you or are they directly selling products that you are also selling. Perhaps they have come up with a cheaper substitute.

Give your customers some personal attention

Small businesses have the advantage of not having a large bureaucracy and they know their customers personally. If you want to compete with small businesses you will need to divest some authority to subordinate staff. Encourage your staff to be proactive and interact with customers and get to know them better. Be dynamic in policies. The longer it takes to implement change the more the smaller business gets ahead. Just think of them as a nuclear family with one head taking all the decisions and the rest of the family implementing it. The members of the family know everyone in the neighbourhood by name and know their likes and dislikes too.

A small business capitalises on this kind of personal interaction with their customers.

Social networking

Small businesses were using social networking before the internet was even a concept. However, with the advent of the internet, it is possible to reach out to your customers like never before. While small businesses may not have the resources to make the most use of the internet and its reach, large businesses can set up websites and hire professional social network marketing talent to conduct online surveys and get to know their customers requirements, likes and dislikes and even what they will or will not buy from among the wide range of products or services a large business offers.

Fund your business

You can’t expect to compete with your competition without the appropriate funding. Capital serves as a major driver in increasing your profits. Effective marketing will help increase the number of customers, and more funding means there’s more flexibility to what you do. The most common methods to increasing capital include loans for business, investors and lines of credit extended through banks. Business loans in Australia can be readily borrowed from lenders across the nation, from a variety of banks and financial institutions.

Go where the competition is

While large businesses usually rely on reaching out to their customers and potential customers through paid advertisements and press releases smaller businesses are doing the same thing – only at a much cheaper rate. They are using email marketing and free press release mailing lists to reach out to their customers and keep them informed of new products and services.

Small businesses know where the crowds are, on the internet and social networking sites, to be precise.  It does not cost anything to set up an account on the popular network sites and let people know what is going on in your business. Creating attractive messages and catching people’s attention and driving them to a business website by coercing them to click on a link or picture is the popular way for small businesses to get their customers to visit their site. And once there the customer is encouraged in some way to leave a phone number or email so that they can be contacted in future.

Small businesses are mostly active on the internet. So, getting with the competition online and competing there instead of through advertisements in newspapers and magazines or hard selling in malls could be the difference between failure and success.

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