As a small business, you simply don’t have the wealth of resources that your larger competitors have. They can run national ad campaigns, and offer discounts that would slay your revenue if you attempted to follow in their footsteps. You may not be able to use the same tricks as big brands, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of the race. As a small business, you have a unique set of tools at your disposal. While you may not be able to offer the same things big brands can, what you can offer will result in a more unique and personal experience for your clients or customers.
Focus on your customer service
Big brands got the way they did by implementing one-size-fits-all customer service solutions. These aren’t tailored to the unique needs of individuals – they’re a blanket solution that a big brand can use at every location for a variety of problems. Small businesses aren’t tethered to these confines. Since you aren’t responsible for assisting thousands of customers on a daily basis, the service you provide can be tweaked on an individual basis. You’re able to touch base more and build meaningful bonds with your patrons, and you can use that to your advantage. Good customer service is what keeps people coming back.
Don’t make things difficult
Small businesses often make the mistake of emphasizing how unique the experience is. The trouble is that customers already understand that you aren’t a major business, and are capable of making any distinctions on their own. Don’t overwhelm them with bells, whistles, and kitschy business practices. Some people just want to get what they need and be on their way. They don’t want a complicated website. They don’t want to be locked into a subscription service, or something equally as daunting. Make yourself easy to work with.
Take your feedback seriously
People buy products and services because they solve a problem or fill a need. In order to continue to thrive, you need to continue to do those things. This means your approach should change over time. Problems change and needs change, and it’s your job to stay abreast with what your target demographic wants. As everyone else advances with innovation and adaptation, you’re expected to do the same. Small businesses have the advantage, because they’re able to communicate in a more direct and efficient fashion with the people who are keeping them afloat. Use your feedback to become a major innovator.
You make the rules
People who work for big brands sit at board meetings, discussing what they can do to expand their market. A lot of these ideas get tossed to the side because they’re difficult to implement on a large scale. Maybe they’re too niche or too specialty for the brand. That’s okay, because you can do whatever they can’t. In order to set yourself apart, you need to be the one willing to take the risks that they cannot. Having sole ownership of a small corner of the market will always be better than having vague and inconsistent ownership of a mass of fleeting consumers.
Show your emotion
It doesn’t matter what your business is. Let’s say you own an independent pizzeria. You may not be able to afford to run the same coupon that the major chains can, and you probably won’t be able to keep your product competitively priced. People are willing to spend more on something they believe is worth more, and your passion is what will drive up the value of what you’re producing. Everything that comes from you should have your mark on it, and that mark should suggest you are the artisan of what you do.
It’s hard for a small business to establish itself in the modern economy, and that makes it even harder to justify taking risk. Remember that the reward that can potentially come with the risks is likely much greater than you’re expecting, and you could find yourself being classified as a big brand in the next few years if you give it everything you have.