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Author: Dean Burgess of Excitepreneur.net
The small business world is extremely competitive. Not only are you up against other small businesses, but you’re also going toe-to-toe with established companies like Amazon and Walmart. How are you supposed to compete against brand giants that can offer endless product variety, dirt-cheap prices, and one-day shipping? Although it may seem impossible, countless small business owners have found success. With the right strategies and tools, you too can get your small business out from under your major competitors.
Invest in Technology
Technology plays an extremely important role in business operations and growth. While you may not have the budget of your competitors, there are several affordable tech tools and services that you can leverage to even the playing field. For example, point of sale systems, payroll software, and inventory management apps can help any small business streamline administrative tasks and keep their customers happy. Investing in tech can help free up your time so you can provide customers with the personal touch that sets your business apart.
Keep in mind that while investing in tech can have many benefits for your business, it’s important to stay vigilant and protect your business’s network, computers, and devices from harmful cyber attacks like malware and phishing. Make sure you’re using the latest antivirus software and updating it regularly and train employees on how to avoid phishing scams.
Hire Freelancers
As a small business owner, you need to put your efforts into growing your business. Instead of taking on every task, hire some freelancers to do the jobs you don’t have expertise in. Hiring temporary workers is also a great way to save on business expenses because many freelancers telecommute, so you won’t have to provide them with office space. The right freelance jobs board can connect you with many qualified candidates, including web developers, graphic designers, software development, and more.
Consider Dropshipping
Dropshipping is a great way to expand your business by offering products at affordable prices. With a dropshipping business model, you don’t hold any inventory. Instead, you take orders from your customers and the manufacturer ships the products directly to your customers. Because dropshipping requires little investment, it is a low-risk option for people who want to test new products or experiment with selling to different consumer audiences. You can go online to research all of the innovative products you can sell through dropshipping, including sunglasses, swimwear, and boutique clothing, just to name a few.
Study Your Competition Closely
Understanding your competition is essential for determining what sets your company apart. Take time to research and monitor your largest competitors so you can identify gaps that you can fill. Essentially, you want to turn the weaknesses of your competitors into your strengths. For example, many big businesses suffer when it comes to customer service. Your business may be able to satisfy customers that your competitors are having trouble pleasing. Check out this guide from CXL to get started with your competitor analysis.
Concentrate on Customer Service
As a small business owner, one of your most significant advantages is the ability to connect with your customers on a personal level. Big brands often lose sight of this. Great customer service can boost your sales and justify the higher costs of your products compared to major retailers.
Some key ways to improve your customer service include engaging with customers on social media, using CRM software to track customer service data, and identifying improvement opportunities through customer feedback. It’s also important to create easy communication channels between customer service employees and customers. If you need some inspiration, Inc recommends checking out these small businesses that have mastered customer service.
Encourage Repeat Customers
Because you can dedicate so much more focus on your customer experience than your major competitors, you may have an easier time encouraging repeat business. This is important because it’s cheaper to retain customers than it is to acquire new ones. So make sure you collect your customer’s contact information when they make a purchase.
Some great ways to encourage repeat purchases from your customers include delivering personalized product recommendations and time-sensitive coupon codes. You could also start a customer loyalty program or offer up freebies to first-time shoppers.
Getting a small business off the ground takes a lot of work, but it’s far from impossible. Experiment with different strategies and tools to discover opportunities for growth. Most importantly, don’t let major competitors discourage you from pursuing your business dreams. Use your competitors to your advantage by improving on their weaknesses.
Contact the expert consultants at Prepare 4 VC for individualized startup consulting and advisory services as well as cohort models via their virtual accelerator program.