If you own a business, then you are aware of how tough the competition can become. And then there’s the risk of seeing your business being swallowed by big name companies. However, there are things you can do to make sure that your small operation thrives amidst the very competitive market. Below are 5 simple but very powerful ways to remain competitive no matter how strong the opposition becomes.
Build a more personal relationship with your customers. Among the advantages that small businesses have over large companies is that they can attract a horde of loyal customers by developing a personal bond between them. People tend to patronize establishments that go the extra mile to connect with them.
Well, most small companies realize that creating a customer loyalty culture which yields repeat business is paramount in today’s market conditions.
Make sure that your customer service is very efficient. One of the most common reasons why people stop supporting a business is due to unsatisfactory customer service.
A few tips to consider:
- Treat your customers as people, not numbers.
- Be truthful about the benefits of your products or services. Making false claims can negatively affect your reputation.
That said, you need to take the time to develop a customer support plan which ensures that issues and problems encountered by clients will be dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Differentiate your products. There won’t be any room for your business to grow if you offer products and services that are very similar to everybody else’s. You have to come up with a version of a product or service that is uniquely yours. Something that can’t be availed anywhere else.
How can this be done?
- Are you providing quality products or services to your target market? Pricing is key! Make sure your products or services are properly priced. For instance, why do you think Starbucks coffee is set higher than your local convenience store selling premium coffee? The higher price raises the perceptions of a quality coffee.
- What new features and benefits does your product or service offer? Having an innovation strategy is important for future growth as new products and services are the lifeblood of your company’s success.
Have access to working capital. Is your company positioned for ‘access to capital?’ This is crucial to the long-term financial health of your business. There are times where you will find your business on the brink of collapse due to funding problems. And unfortunately, most banks are reluctant to lend to small businesses. Luckily, there are loan programs geared to assist micro and small businesses.
- Kabbage (@Kabbage) – the industry leader in providing working capital online with access to funds to small business on the spot. To date, over $550,000,000 loans.
- Lift Fund (@LiftFundUS) – a multi-state nonprofit microfinance company and small business lender that helps new and existing entrepreneurs successfully grow their businesses. To date, over 14,438 loans totaling more than $159 million.
These and other funding resources lend money to deserving businesses at lower interest rates.
Get online and go social. There’s a chance that most if not all of your current customers are on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or on any of the other major social networking sites. Following them where they go will keep them connected to your business. Also, you can attract a lot of new customers online if you know how to make use of the tools and resources that the internet offers.
Your small business can still thrive and even expand in a very competitive market if you follow the tips discussed above. These tips are applicable even if you’re up against big name corporations.
Do you have a tip or two that you can add to the ones listed here?