Canadian small businesses don’t need to spend a fortune to compete with large companies. Being small provides unique advantages. Small business owners who know how to exploit these advantages, can level the playing field and attract and retain customers, reduce costs, and maximize profits.
Your small business can compete with larger companies by remaining agile. Bureaucracy is minimal, which allows you to make quick decisions. For example, if you own a small business that sells skis and snowboards, you could introduce a popular new brand to your product range, meeting customers’ immediate demand; the decision does not need to be approved by multiple levels of management. Larger competitors may take months to change strategic direction if something is not working. As your team members are not weighed down by policies and procedures, encourage them to be innovative, think outside the box and take calculated risks when developing customer solutions.
Providing Superior Customer Service
Providing a high level of service makes your customers feel valued. Because of their size, large retailers typically don’t have the ability provide personalized service. Know your customers by name to build trust and loyalty. Use your flexibility to engage customers. For example, if you own a small business that sells ice hockey equipment, organize a local tournament in your community. This is a cost-effective way to increase brand awareness and allows you get to know customers in your target market on a more personal level. Ask customers for feedback; it shows that you are listening to them and that you value their opinion. Emphasize your personalized customer service in your marketing campaign to differentiate yourself from your larger competitors.
Join Forces With Other Small Businesses
Compete with large retailers by affiliating with other small businesses. Taking advantage of synergies can reduce costs. For example, if your small business partners with another business that offers similar products, you could agree to split the marketing costs and share the same warehouse. Partnering with other businesses increases your buying power, helping you negotiate more favourable terms and conditions with suppliers, as well as allowing you to sell your products at more competitive prices. Forming a strategic partnership also allows your business to leverage the specialized skills of another business with your own to help offer products that are superior to your large competitors.
Focus on a Niche Market
To maximize your business’s profits, find a niche that larger retailers have overlooked. Large businesses often offer generic products, which leaves opportunity in specialty markets. For example, instead of selling a range of pet products, you could specialize in dog training aids. Market your business as an expert in its specific niche. Create awareness of your expertise by writing articles in publications that people in your target market read, by participating in online forums and by attending events that allow you to showcase your knowledge. Use your business’s small size to capitalize quickly on trends that arise. By the time the larger players enter the market, you will have already secured significant market share.