How Small Businesses Should Compete with Big Businesses 76

How Small Businesses Should Compete with Big Businesses - Let's Reach Success

This is a guest post by Lexie Lu, a designer and blogger. She contributes to the design world and usually has a cup of coffee close by. She writes on Design Roast and can be followed onTwitter.

Small businesses simply don’t have the huge marketing budgets that larger companies do. However, a small business owner has determination and personal investment on a level not always present in larger businesses.

If you’re in the process of growing your small business, you may wonder how you can compete with larger companies. Your eventual goal may even be to become a big business yourself one day.

Here are some tips to follow:

  1. Attract the Best Employees.

The U.S. Census estimates that about 11% of people work for small businesses. This means that you can attract some of the best employees and may even be able to compete with large companies by offering some perks that they can’t.

Allow workers to bring a child or pet to work with them. Even though your benefits package may be less than a mega corporation, employees look at other benefits when choosing which job offer to take. Your best employees might value flexibility more than other aspects.

  1. Focus on Customer Service.

Even though a big business can afford to throw a  lot more money at ads and pulling in customers, you can gain customers by focusing on excellent customer service. Seventy-eight of customers place more trust in small- and mid-sized businesses than large companies.

This gives you an excellent opportunity to not only reach a certain demographic of customers, but also to create brand loyalty. Take the time to develop a good customer service philosophy and fully train your employees on how to treat customers.

  1. Understand Your Customer.

Learn exactly who your typical customer is and you’ll know how to reach them. Use statistical data related to your industry or local area to develop user personas. A user persona is simply a model of what your typical customer is like. It’s like creating a character for a story. You can then target marketing, contests and even blog posts to those user personas.

  1. Use Trending Hashtags.

Twitter is an excellent social media platform to promote your business inexpensively. However, if you aren’t taking advantage of trending topics, you’re missing out. Simply login to your account and look on the right hand side of your page to see what topics are trending. Then, think through how you can relate your business to that topic.

If #Christmas is trending, then you’d write a tweet that ties into that hashtag. Or, you could work up a blog post to promote on the topic and add a link with the hashtag. This allows people who are following that trending hashtag to see your tweet.

  1. Social Media on Autopilot.

Speaking of social media marketing. The big companies typically have a team of people or at least one dedicated person constantly working on social media marketing. A small business may not have the luxury or the time to spend on that much social media.

You can utilize some key tools to make it look like you have a team behind you.

For example, use HootSuite to schedule posts in advance. You can add plugins to a WordPress blog, so that when a new post goes live there will be a corresponding post that automatically posts on Facebook and Twitter.

  1. Dig Into Your Niche.

The larger a business grows, the more it moves away from its niche. As a small business, you can really focus in on one particular area and do it right.

So, if you’re competing with golf equipment companies, you won’t be able to offer clubs, bags, tees, apparel and golf carts. Instead, you might want to offer a specific type of accessory that helps with the golf swing and a club that goes with it.

By truly honing in on a specific niche, you’ll be able to show knowledge and make sure you’re offering the absolute best of the best in products.

  1. Personal Testimonies.

As a small business owner, you likely have a more personal relationship with your clients. This will allow you to reach out and ask for testimonies from them. Because your customers know you well, these testimonies will show off the customer service and personality that you bring to your business.

Your raving fans make you unique from any other business out there.

  1. Be Ready to Make Changes.

One huge advantage of a small business versus a big business is that you’re smaller and can make changes easier, even radical ones.

One metaphor that shows the advantage of a small business that needs to recreate itself is that of a boat.

A large boat, such as a ship, is difficult to turn around. It’s bulky and it takes time to slow it down and alter the course. On the other hand, a small boat, such as a speedboat, will change direction much more quickly and efficiently. This means you can easily reinvent your business as often as you need to in order to be successful.

  1. Price Competitively.

Even though it might seem impossible to compete with big businesses that can buy in bulk quantities, you can figure out ways to price competitively. One idea is to buy odd lots and closeouts that you can sell at a deep discount. You can also offer a few loss leaders to draw customers in.

National retailers do this all the time by advertising a really great price on a few products. People tend to buy other items while there.

Don’t be intimidated because a big box competitor opens up nearby. You can compete with big businesses. You simply need to try new and creative innovations, offer excellent service and pay attention to things you can do that differentiate you from the competition.

Even though some customers may go with the first ad they see, and the big companies can beat you on advertising, word of mouth can bring in even more business over time.

Focus on service and style and you’ll have plenty of customers to keep your business thriving.

Get The Lifestyle Designer's Digest
Directly into your inbox every Monday.
Previous ArticleNext Article

What the Richest People in the World Have in Common 4

What the Richest People in the World Have in Common

Getting rich is something everyone dreams about.

For those facing financial hardships, getting rich seems the only way out to tide over shortage of money. For the bourgeoisie – the working class – getting rich conjures up visions of stuff they want to buy for luxury or higher social status. Millionaires also wish to get rich: they want to become billionaires and enter Forbes List of the world’s wealthiest people.

Unless you inherit a fortune or get lucky at lottery or sweepstakes, getting rich can be quite tough.

Yet, there are countless rags-to-riches stories around the world. Enterprises such as Amazon, KFC, Facebook or SpaceX have become runaway successes within a short span. The reason: their founders have several things in common, which is rare among other people.

Here we look at various traits that the world’s richest and most successful entrepreneurs have in common.

The Common Traits of The World’s Richest People

The Common Traits of The World's Richest People

1. Serving People.

“If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it,” said John D. Rockefeller, who laid the foundation stone for America’s giant petroleum industry and his own enterprise, Standard Oil. The same adage holds good today.

Facebook, for example, was launched by Mark Zuckerberg and his roommate, Eduardo Saverin to allow Harvard University students to share profiles and pictures

There are countless such examples of ordinary people striking rich. However, they share one thing in common: serving people. The main objective of launching these enterprises was to make life easier or enjoyable for people rather than earning money.

2. Reading Books.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, celebrity TV show host Oprah Winfrey, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Berkshire-Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet and several other extremely rich people of the world have one more thing in common: they are avid readers.

Bill Gates reads at least 50 books every year – an average of nearly four and a half books per month.

Elon Musk owes his success at SpaceX, the project to open space tourism to his love for books and the knowledge he gained from them about rocketry. Oprah Winfrey attributes her success to dozens of books, including some 70 top titles she read on her way to success while Warren Buffet spends about 80 percent of his day reading books.

3. Long-Term Financial Strategies.

A report by CNBC states, all wealthy people depend upon long-term financial strategies rather than short-term gains. They utilized their earnings and savings to invest in safe stocks that would assure gains in the long run rather than indulging in risky trading that can offer high returns.

Such financial planning and decisions ensured they do not lose money. Further, they invested money in their enterprises without the hope of immediate returns.

These wealthy people first focused on building a brand, offering value for people to identify with the brand. And later, popularize the brand through word-of-mouth publicity, which is more effective than traditional advertising.

4. Never Say Die.

Yet another common character trait shared by the world’s richest people is, they are not quitters.

Like every other human on Earth, these wealthy folks also witnessed ups and downs in life. Some of these were so overwhelming most ordinary people would have called it quits and gone in search of easier ventures.

Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Bleckharczyk, founders of Airbnb, the world’s largest hotels and accommodations aggregator were plagued with financial problems.


Heavily encumbered with debts, bankruptcy was staring at these entrepreneurs in the very eye. Yet, they did not budge. They innovated their service that made Airbnb the world leader in its field today.

Another excellent example is Colonel Harland Sanders, whose recipe for fried chicken was rejected as many as 1,009 times before it was accepted. Col. Sanders is the founder of global chain Kentucky Fried Chicken or KFC.

5. Accepting Criticism.

Most people flee from criticism of any sort. Rather than learning from negative comments arising out of their behavior or work, they take umbrage rather quickly. Yet, they do not bother to amend their behavior or work pattern.

All wealthy people, however, are different. They are willing to be criticized for introducing new ideas or thoughts.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, rightly says that those who will try and do something new must be willing to draw criticism.

Steve Jobs, founder, Apple, Inc. puts it in even stronger words: “If you want to make everyone happy, do not become a leader; sell ice cream instead.”

The success of Amazon and Apple proves their founders were right when it came to accepting criticism.

6. Out of The Box Thinking.

how regular life looks like and why it won't make you happy

Thinking outside of the ‘box’ or a typical mindset is often impossible for most people. Understandably, because everyone draws their mindset from factors and circumstances they are raised and educated in.

This mindset eventually becomes a formidable fetter for anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur. Generally, most people follow the flock and take professions they falsely believe as best suited for their skills. Others try to follow footsteps of their parents.

The wealthiest people in the world never followed flock or took lucrative professions of their parents.

Mark Zuckerberg’s father was a dentist and mom – a psychiatrist. Bill Gates’ dad was a banker father while his mother was a lawyer.

Despite coming from wealthy families, they chose to follow their passion rather than confine their thinking to the proverbial boxed mindset. Col. Sanders had lost his parents at a young age of six years and had to shoulder responsibilities of his siblings.

Other Examples of What The Wealthiest People Have in Common

As we can see, these qualities or personality traits are common to the world’s richest people. It sets them apart from others. Most of them launched small enterprises with the sole purpose of bettering the lives of people. Their products or services gained popularity because money was never their consideration. Widespread use of their technology, products, and services eventually led them to become wealthy.

These traits are not typical to the US or the western world, as one may mistakenly come to believe. A glance at some richest people in India and elsewhere also reveals, they share the same characteristics with their American counterparts. This amply proves that richest people around the world share something in common, regardless of where they live and flourish.

Another common trait that all rich people share in common is philanthropy.

Since childhood, they believe in giving back to the society and helping the underprivileged. They practiced charity when they were not so rich and continue to donate money for the betterment of the society even after becoming billionaires.

These richest people on the planet never waited to become wealthy. Instead, they were philanthropists since childhood – a trait most other people pathetically lack or try to foist upon themselves to gain popularity.

In Conclusion

It is not easy to become wealthy. Or everyone would become a millionaire. People who do make it to the top have a different way of thinking combined with an undying zest for learning new things and educating themselves.

They do not consider conventional learning at universities as the end of their education. Instead, they try and acquire new skills every day and find ways and means to become better humans rather than focusing on fattening their purses.

The world’s wealthiest people also share one common trait: they are not people pleasers, despite their generosity and willingness to serve the society. Because they know, trying to please everyone will get them nowhere and could mean possible failure.