Nobody likes a bully… especially small business marketers. If you’ve ever felt like the little guy taking punches from a heavyweight champion, you know what I’m talking about. Big business has donned its gloves, and is waiting to put small business down for the count.
I’ve got good news!
Sometimes the little guy wins. Heck, it isn’t easy and sometimes it’s a close call, but little guys do win and when they do, victory is sweet!
What can you do when you’re being threatened by the bully down the street?
1. Take a careful look at the Competition
Every business has its strengths and weaknesses. You need to be aware of both… your competitors’ strong points, and the places where room for improvement is quite obvious. It’s about understanding the other players in the arena, and assessing how you will overcome them, through deliberate analysis and consideration, which is not expensive, but does take some focus.
2. Be Flexible
Don’t expect your competitor to broadcast his next move so that you can be prepared to block it. You’ve got to think a step ahead, and be ready to outsmart his next maneuver.
- Innovate. How? It depends on your business. The best businesses became the best because they innovated. EVERY business can innovate: Pennsylvania Railroad Company, Edison Power, GM, Tesla, Apple, and every business in between; how will YOU innovate?
- Quality of message. Are you saying what everyone else is saying, or are you saying something of interest? You must rise above the clutter of you’re going to be recognized. Unique message content is imperative, otherwise, you risk being commoditized…
- Frequency. There is a formula here, and you must know it. Too frequently can turn off your constituents; not frequently enough will impact your top of mind awareness.
3. Use a little Aikido. You don’t have to be big and brawny to successfully use this martial art. Why? It’s an art that uses your opponent’s momentum to trip him up. So what if you don’t have thousands of dollars to invest in a campaign? When your competition has invested his tens of thousands in one, you’ll be able to make a quick about face, and counteract quickly with a smaller campaign of your own. He’ll either forfeit his investment or continue through, but lose steam.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret about your competitors that might encourage you. Although big businesses often have a wide variety of products filling their shelves, they often don’t have depth.
Think about it this way:
You may run to your local department store and find everything ranging from make-up to camping equipment. The problem with that? …chances are they don’t have an extremely wide assortment of their products.
This means that if you’re an avid outdoorsman, you probably wouldn’t be satisfied choosing between two cheap brands of tents when there is an amazing variety on the market. An outdoor related store could get one over on the big department store by offering the widest variety of fewer products in a focused field.
Another asset about being the small guy is that it’s easier to make a quick turn. Hey, how many managers do you have to get okays from to make a quick decision? Think of the weeks it takes for a local department store to send a request from a customer for a certain product to the regional or national management? Yeah, too long!
As a small business, you can have a new product on your shelves within a week. If I were a customer wanting a new tent, I’d prefer to not wait until summer was half over to get it.
There are a lot of benefits to being the small guy. Don’t take bullying lying down. You have what it takes to get the best end of the stick, and come out a winner.
By Chris Steely, Founder & Managing Director, Business Growth Group
With over 25 years of marketing, leadership, and business development experience in numerous industries, Chris’ depth of business experience spans multiple continents, achieving outstanding results for his Clients.