The internet, big data, and the gig economy have reduced barriers to entry for start-ups and small businesses, paving the way for smart, plucky niche firms to compete successfully in today’s global market.
The little guys of the world are finding ways to win in a world dominated by corporate giants by using the tools of the new economy as well as some of the tried-and-true tenets of business. These include getting up close and personal with your customers, keeping your offerings simple and narrow, and leveraging available resources.
Find Out What They Want
Small businesses have a unique advantage in that they can really get to know their target markets and develop intimate relationships with their customers. Make the most of this by focusing on whatever is inconvenient or challenging for your customers. The more of their frustrations you can eliminate, the better their experiences will be.
Find Your Niche
The ability to pivot quickly and provide personalized service are key advantages for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). One way to leverage your unique strengths is by excelling in a narrow, targeted niche. The tighter your focus, the easier it will be for you to compete in the space. Instead of offering “handmade candy,” promoting your confections as the “very finest handmade dark chocolate pecan clusters” will be easier, less expensive, and way more effective.
Find a Power Partner
Lastly, don’t hesitate to play with the bigger kids. Many large organizations are actively pursuing partnership opportunities with SMEs and, in particular, minority and women-owned businesses and enterprises (MWBEs). Tech companies and health care organizations are especially open to this approach. These big companies are often willing to assist their SME partners with marketing and customer service coaching, making this scenario a win-win.