When your business is the proverbial small fish in a big pond, it understandably has many challenges that are not present for major competitors. Some of the many things working in favor of major competitors include much deeper pockets, an established and well-known brand, a huge infrastructure and more. It may seem like your small business or startup is at a distinctive disadvantage in many critical ways.
While this may seem discouraging at first glance, the reality is that your business can compete head-to-head with the big fish by taking thoughtful steps moving forward. These are some of the essential steps that your small business needs to take in order to succeed in a very competitive environment.
Maximize Your Company’s Agility
Larger companies often require a considerable amount of time, effort and money to shift gears when the need arises. The process of responding to change can be rather slow at times. In fact, many larger businesses must often be proactive about predicting change so that they can remain at the forefront of their industry. As a smaller business, your company is more agile and responsive.
This means that you can easily switch directions with minimal effort or cost in many instances. In addition, you may be able to complete a huge shift in a very short period of time. Keep in mind that this agility may be related to your marketing strategy, product development, taking advantage of new technology, adjusting to consumer feedback and more.
Design a Professional Website
A common challenge that smaller businesses and startups previously had was difficulty reaching their target audience with limited resource. The Internet can advantageously be used to level the playing field in this area. When you invest in a professional website that has been thoughtfully designed, you can present a professional image in the same way that larger companies do. Likewise, online visibility may be similar or even improved in some instances.
Your website may be search engine optimized, and it may be loaded with lead capture capabilities and many other exceptional features. Through a thoughtful website design, you can more effectively reach your audience on a tight budget through online marketing. By doing so, you may also develop and build a solid brand image on a dime.
Take Full Advantage of Innovative Technology
Many innovative technologies facilitate professional efforts in different ways. For example, cloud computing enables faster and easier file sharing. It protects data from theft and damage, and it facilitates collaboration and remote working. Other increasingly common technologies include time clock software programs, automated payroll processing, virtual meetings, automated marketing, improved CRM programs and more.
Because the use of advanced technology is essential for small businesses to step toe-to-toe with huge corporations, it is important to carefully review the options before making an investment. Rather than attempt to invest heavily in all types of technology available, choose the technologies that your business uses strategically and thoughtfully. It may also be helpful to create a line item in your budget for technological improvements or investments.
Hire a Remote Workforce
Because of innovations in technology, the ability to hire a remote workforce is easier and more convenient than ever before. Technology enables easy collaboration and communication so that remote workers can be just as productive as in-office employees. In fact, they may even be more productive as well as happier overall with their jobs. This is because remote work allows for flexible work hours and promotes a healthy work-life balance.
A remote work team can help you to keep overhead low because you require less office space, less investment in technology and more. In addition, hiring a remote team may give you access to a much larger pool of talent. This is because you may be able to hire from a national or international pool rather than from a local pool. With access to a larger talent pool, you may further reduce overhead while also potentially hiring more experienced and skilled professionals.
Focus on Customer Service
Major corporations typically have a huge customer service department as well as a solid infrastructure for dealing with complaints, customer retention and more. However, your business may still have a leg up in the area of customer service. Consider if your business receives a customer complaint. You have the ability to speak openly with the customer as the owner of the company. In addition, you have considerable control to make things right. The hourly employees at a major corporation typically do not have this ability.
In addition, as the business owner, you can immediately identify issues with your products, services or processes. You can use this feedback to make beneficial change as soon as possible. With a larger company, various customers may experience the same issues before the matter is brought to the attention of higher-ups. More than that, it may still take many weeks or months of effort to properly address the concern.
The unfortunate reality is that your small business or startup has numerous disadvantages compared to your larger competitors, but you can see that there are also many benefits associated with having a smaller operation. When you are faced with a challenge, look for creative approaches and innovative technology that may help you to maneuver around or through the situation. Remember to take full advantage of technology to create a more established presence, to reduce overhead and to accomplish other important goals.
Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today’s business and marketing. When she’s not being all serious and busy, she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, and delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Contact Jasmine by Twitter