It can feel pretty discouraging to run a small business in a sea of billion-dollar companies. Competing against big brands like Walmart and Amazon just seems fruitless—and it is! Small businesses simply don’t have the capital or resources to compete on the same level, but they can still thrive with the right business approach. Yet you can use your size to your advantage if you know-how. Watchman Advisors offers the following insight on how to get started.
Streamline and Automate
One of the most important ways to keep up with your competitors is to make the most of your available time. Time-draining tasks can keep you and your employees from focusing on the most important parts of your business, like customer satisfaction and lead generation. Find ways to streamline, automate, or outsource some of your company’s most time-consuming tasks.
For example, Deluxe recommends outsourcing accounting, payroll, email marketing, and social media management. You can also find a wealth of automation tools to simplify these tasks, such as MailChimp for email marketing and Freshbooks for billing and accounting.
You can even automate things like registering your small business with the state, if you haven’t already done so. Following state requirements is an essential step in setting up your business, but figuring out what, exactly, you need to do (obtaining an operating permit, staying in compliance with certain guidelines, etc.) can feel overwhelming and frustrating. Thankfully, you can make this process easier by reaching out to formation services.
It’s also worthwhile to automate your warehouse systems. Clean and accurate inventory management is essential for helping your business grow without facing supply shortages or costly overstocking issues.
Traditionally, business owners had to track their inventory manually and use paper and pens, but this is extremely time-consuming and prone to costly human error. Embrace the advantages technology brings by moving to the cloud, which enhances data security and accuracy and lowers maintenance and infrastructure costs.
Don’t Compete on Price
When you’re trying to compete against big brands, it can be tempting to lower your prices. But Cox Business warns that this common strategy can be dangerous for you and your industry in general.
Trying to undercut companies like Amazon means sacrificing the quality of your products, attracting bargain-hunting shoppers, triggering price wars within your industry, and hurting the perceived value of your business.
While you can increase your bottom line by cutting out unnecessary business costs, don’t eliminate any expenses that are valuable to your company just so you can charge less for your products. Instead of trying to beat Amazon’s impossibly low prices, find out what makes you different and lean into those strengths.
Decide What Sets Your Business Apart
Sticking to a very specific niche is one of the best ways to stand out from your competitors. While massive retailers can get away with selling everything to everyone, you have to do the complete opposite. Pick a niche, stay in your lane, and position yourself as an expert in your specific industry.
You might have to do some market research to learn what your competitors are up to so you can set yourself apart. Take a look at your competitor’s websites, social media pages, and online reviews to find a gap that you can fill. You can also benefit by reaching out to your existing customers and asking them what they like about your business.
Focus on the Customer Experience
Through your research efforts, you’ll likely discover that customer service is one thing that sets your business apart. Your small size puts you in the optimal position to make personal connections with customers, something that most big brands simply cannot do—Amazon has over 95 million loyal shoppers!
Put time and care into customer service so you can attract shoppers who are searching for a sense of personal connection in their online shopping experience. This will help you develop a base of loyal customers who are willing to pay a bit more for your products in exchange for greater customer care.
While you may not be able to beat the prices or product selection of Amazon, Walmart, or other e-commerce giants, you can beat them in other ways. Take advantage of time-saving tools to level the playing field and strive to be the best in your niche. Instead of trying to compete directly with major companies, help your business pave its own path to success.