One of the largest challenges small businesses face is how they can stay competitive in an environment where larger companies are already dominating the market. In the first few years, small businesses are vulnerable, so how do you survive the early stages of growth? Here are just a few ways that you can stay competitive in a tricky market…
Be A Great Employer
The first way to remain competitive is to have a great team of people…and then keep them. If your employees aren’t happy in their job, they will be looking to go elsewhere. By being a fantastic employer, and putting your workers first, you will reduce the amount of people leaving your ranks. Having to hire new people takes time, resources, and extra training. Keep the best people for the job at your desks.
Look After Your Customers
Even though you’d think they’d have the resources, bigger companies actually often mess up their customer service and complaints systems. By going out of your way to make your customers happy, you are likely to maintain a regular business flow, and be recommended to others (increasing your profits in the meantime). You scratch their backs, and they will scratch yours.
Understand Your Competition
Don’t just ignore your competitors; analyze what they are doing. If you can learn from their strengths and weaknesses, so much the better. Don’t make the same mistakes that they have (hold it up as a cautionary tale), but also take note of what had worked well for them too. If you know what your competition is lacking, there is an obvious hole that you can fill in the market, which they don’t provide.
Don’t Just Follow The Herd
It’s tempting to model yourself on popular brands, but you should avoid this at all costs. Your business will only remain competitive if it stands out massively from the rest of the companies out there. Carefully construct your brand to appeal to a particular demographic, and don’t be afraid to show off what makes you unique.
Keep Educating Yourself
As long as you and your employees keep learning and picking up new skills, your company will keep growing and gaining new ground. Attend events, meet new people, consider new ideas, and book in-house training; you may see all of this as extra expenditure that you don’t need, however it’s important to actively take part in the community, get your name recognized, and to educate your employees further.
Outsourcing is one of the most tactical decisions that small businesses can make. You can’t afford to keep everything in-house; it’s just not feasible. IT support is a great example of something that small businesses often need, but it doesn’t fit comfortably within their budgets. Instead, you can use a reputable company to cover your IT for you – Exponential-e is a great option, but there are a number of businesses out there that offer a full IT package.