It can be frustrating competing with huge corporations that seem to have unlimited resources. How can the little guy even compete?
Step one is a paradigm shift – start thinking of your small size as an asset, not a handicap. What can you do that other, larger companies can’t do? What do customers like about small businesses?
When it comes to service, remembering preferences and personalizing recommendations can go a long way. Think of a local restaurant that asks if you want “the usual,” or a record store employee who just got something in that he thinks you might like. That kind of service is rare, and refreshing.
Create Unique Product Offerings
Another good opportunity to set yourself apart? Unusual product offerings, especially high-end products. The big-box retailers are going to offer the products that most people want, which might not satisfy the needs of the customer who wants the premium option. Imagine an audiophile who is looking to upgrade – he’s looking for the high-end boutique where he can demo the best speakers in the world. Unusual products don’t have to be super high-end, either – something quirky like a wall-mounted turntable might not appear in a big-box store, but maybe that’s the kind of fun, unique product that your business could be known for.
And last but not least, emphasize the local aspect of your business. Run a monthly special, and name it after a different local landmark each month. That’s a clear signal that you’re a genuine local business.
Image Credit: [Flickr/gregfoster]