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5 Ways a Small Business Can Successfully Compete Against the Big Boys

Big versus small - who will win?I stumbled upon a Harvard Business Review article on What Small Business Can Learn From Emerging Markets. Though this article focused on the lessons the authors impart in their new book “Emerging Market Multinationals,” it offered really valuable tips on how any small business can compete against large companies.

In 4 words, it all comes down to using your resources wisely. As the authors note,

“…Smaller firms can still perform well against much larger competitors. What it requires is a competitive strategy that is fully cognizant of these resource limitations and finds clever ways to overcome them.” [Emphasis my own.]

Here are 5 tips I gleaned from the article:

1 – Stress flexibility

Because large companies tend to standardize their products and services, their offerings are not easily customizable. Small companies, on the other hand, are much more flexible and can easily customize products and services to meet their clients’ needs. Stress that flexibility, and highlight it in use cases/case studies and blog posts.

2 – Narrow your business focus

Large companies have multiple service and product offerings, but you don’t – nor do you need to. Focus on developing the products and services that will allow you to excel and truly shine – and successfully compete against the big boys.

3 – Target your marketing efforts

Instead of trying to imitate large companies who can afford to blanket the market with their messages, make your marketing as effective as posible. Really hone in on who your customers are, how you meet their needs and solve their challenges, and where you can reach them.

4 – Pursue underserved market segments

Underserved markets are very often ignored by large companies, so use that to your advantage. As the authors say, “It is easier to win over a customer newly-entering a growing category than it is to steal share in a stagnant one.” Do some research to uncover those market segments.

5 – Develop local market knowledge

The better you know your local or regional market, the better you can meet your customer needs (with new or revamped products and services) and write messaging that resonates with them. Large companies cannot afford to do that in every single market they enter.

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Do you successfully compete against large local, regional, or global companies? What do you do to stand out?

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