Can your small business compete in today’s difficult economic landscape and global economy? The buying power and marketing blitz of the big box stores is enough to bully the average business owner to board up the shop and head for the hills. Some have said that the small business is a dying breed. According to an article by CNN Money “across the United States, small business failure rates rose by 40% between 2007 and 2010″. Some have compared the small business owner with the middle class as a dying breed.
I believe that small business can dominate its market both locally and beyond. Here are a few things to focus on as you hold your own turf against the big box store:
It all starts with you as the small business owner. You have the passion, desire, and vision to build your business. You put in the long hours, create the standards in which your business operates, and are the Indian and the chief that make it run. The business starts with you and ends with you. You are the best resource a big box or chain can never have or develop.
Provide products and service that are exceptional, memorable, extraordinary and knock your customers off their feet. Create an experience that leaves your customers and clients wanting more. If you make pizza, make it the best pizza. Not just because you say it is but because the world thinks it is. Craft it with the most delicious and freshest ingredients available. Serve it to your customers in a manor that is representative of the best. No fast food chain will be able to match what you can put on the table.
Good service is something that businesses strive for but is hard to achieve unless it is part of the businesses culture. Raise the bar high and create a new standard for service. Your customers will know you appreciate their business when the level of service they receive stands out. Service is the foundation to which we build the relationships with our clients and customers. Unprecedented service delivered on a consistent basis is something that the big chains cannot deliver.
Here are a few other things that can help small business dominate its market:
Specialty: The chain stores offer a little bit of everything so go deep into your category. Have a variety and selection that is unmatched. If a customers needs something that is hard to get they will know where to go.
Local: You are part of the local culture embrace, celebrate, and cater to it. It may be something simple like participating a local art exhibition or prominently celebrating a win by the local little league team. Your customers will take notice.
Community: If you want your business to shine above others in the community you need to participate in it. Participate in the local fair, chamber of commerce events, parades, etc. Be a leader in your community.
Charity: Adopt a charity and pay it forward. Cash donations are always appreciate by a charity but so is your time, experience and expertise. Not only will you feel good about your contribution but good will is contagious.
Networking: In order to thrive the small business owner must wear many hats and a valuable hat to try on is master networker. Utilize local business groups and chambers of commerce to make new contacts and develop relationships. Always be building and developing your network no matter where you are. You will be surprised where you find new customers.
A successful business knows their niche, listens to the customer and evolves to their needs. First impressions and reputations matter so value them. Thriving under any condition or with tough competition can be done, it is all in the deliver and execution of your game plan.