Success stories have to start somewhere – no big business existed without first being a small fry.
Even giants like McDonald’s and Amazon had meagre beginnings where they seemed unlikely to succeed.
In the face of conglomerates and multinationals, running a small business can often feel like an uphill battle. So, it’s important to remember all the things fighting your corner that make your business unique and allow you to combat the high street corporations.
Discover some of the useful lessons you can learn from running a small business in a world of tycoons.
1. High-quality products and services give customers a reason to come back
To use groceries as an example: people have their reasons for shopping at large supermarkets for their food because there is value in providing low-cost goods.
However, adhering to the principle of yin and yang, every positive must come with a negative – large companies will most likely sacrifice something to provide the luxury of low prices.
These could be the:
- Quality of products
- Level of customer service
- Intimacy of the experience
So, while anyone can stroll into an Asda and pick up a pizza from their “Essentials” range for under £1, I can almost guarantee you won’t be greeted with a smile, asked if you’d like help, or thanked for your custom.
The less said about the pizza itself, the better – though, to each their own.
There has to be something that keeps your customers coming back, and in the case of Asda, it’s usually its low prices.
As a result, setting yourself apart from the impersonal giants of your industry, whoever they may be, could be greatly beneficial. Providing an exceptional service, the personal touch, or an unforgettable quality of service that reflects your passion for your business can make you stand out.
2. Creating interpersonal meaning
Taking advantage of your immediacy to your customers is something that can set your business apart from the commercial overlords sucking the high street dry.
Small businesses often have the unique ability to take on and respond to feedback much more readily than larger businesses can – partially a result of because of the bureaucracy involved but also from the closeness you share with your patrons.
Giving degrees of autonomy to your clients such as the ability to customise the products and services they use can easily make them feel special and heard.
But don’t take it from me – $2 billion Morgan Stanley advisor Anna Winderbaum explained to Forbes how listening was the key to achieving success in her industry.
Since every individual customer provides a high value for smaller businesses, retaining them can often be one of your greatest achievements.
If, heaven forbid, a customer happens to have a bad experience with you, your business’s history of prioritising their needs is likely to fill them with the faith that their feedback will be taken on board with any issues amicably resolved.
As a result of this, listening and responding to their needs through the good and the bad can create an important client-facing relationship that could keep them coming back.
3. Know your value and what you bring to the table
You shouldn’t feel afraid to charge what you believe your products and services are worth.
Pricing can be a daunting task when you’re required to compete with giants that can more than afford to undercut your costs.
One interesting example of this is Amazon Go – the group of new, “staffless” grocery stores of the e-commerce monopoliser – undercutting one of its local rivals in America.
So, Amazon managed to undercut their local rival… by completely removing the staff in its grocery stores and opting for a checkout-less, payless shopping experience.
Indeed, they have removed some expense for the customer. But in doing so, human interaction has also been completely removed from the process.
This brings us back to the yin and yang comparison – good and bad are tethered together, whether you like it or not.
While some of your services may be slightly more expensive than larger companies, these are much more likely to be provided with love and care.
So, ridding yourself of imposter syndrome can open the door to charging rates that both provide a true reflection of the quality of your work, and that customers will willingly exchange for a service like no other.
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