Times are always tough for small businesses.
Between COVID-19, labor shortages, supply chain constraints, inflation and the reality of constant competition and operational pressure, it can really start to feel unrelenting.
But the best small businesses operate in a different reality.
It’s time to find out why, and how you too can compete.
You Must Put the Customer First
Times are only tough for businesses, owners, managers and operators who are not focused on the primary reason they are in business. Customers.
Customers pay your rent and put food on your table. Whether you sell hats, handbags or hot dogs, you are in the people business. If you don't like people, you will soon have no business.
It’s as simple as that.
The Problem: The Growth or Large Corporations
Today, companies like Amazon, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and all the other major corporations are offering the largest selections, best convenience and lowest prices we have ever seen in history. The options that customers can choose from are better than ever.
Large corporations have endless money, armies of talented workers and an insatiable thirst for growth. They’ll enter any market where they think there is revenue and margin.
That likely means yours too.
This means customers have a lot of choices. If they are going to choose you, then you really need to give them a good reason to.
If they even give you one, customers will give you one shot. This means that the interactions they have with your business are more precious than ever.
The Solution: Create the Most Value for Customers
To win you need to beat large corporations on value.
As the famous line on “The Mandalorian” goes, “This is the way”. That’s close. This is the only way.
Business is based on a very simple proposition: people want to get "perceived" value for the "reality" of the money they spend. They can count the reality of what they pay out, but value is in the eye of the beholder.
Value has three components, the combination of which creates the customers perception of quality: product, service and experience.
Think of your product in a broad, encompassing sense. From the beginning of a customer's interaction with your product to the end.
Having a quality product requires that you be constantly improving and working on it. Are you?
Service is about how you and your staff accommodate customers. It must be prompt, courteous, competent and better than your competition. Don't worry about being miles ahead, just a few steps ahead can make you the business of choice for customers.
Experience is a combination of your tangible physical assets and the intangible ways they affect your customer. The feeling that you and your staff create is more important than the design and fixtures. It is a "positive energy flow" that occurs when every member of the staff and management exudes a positive attitude and acts like he or she truly cares about every customer.
How to Compete with Large Corporations
Put together a proposition that beats large corporations across all three dimensions - product, service and experience. Not just one, but three.
Only you know what this means for your product, market, business and competition. But you now know where to get started.
When you are focused on the needs of customers and consistently provide quality and value in your product, service and experience, your customers will get that satisfying and comfortable feeling that makes them feel truly welcome and eager to spend money with you.
This way you can beat large corporations. This is the only way.
Before you go...
We all know that small business is about doing the little things right.
The little optimisations, the high-impact tweaks and the 1% gains you can make to your business to make it a little better, a little more profitable and even a little bit more pleasant to run.
I have interviewed 500+ business owners, surveyed thousands more, and I am always probing for their best tips, tricks and hacks to improve their business. There are three that stand out above the rest and I want to share them with you.
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