Large companies have the upper hand when it comes to marketing budgets and resources to promote their business so many times big businesses are top of mind when a consumer needs to make a buying decision. Their offices may be in downtown skyscrapers, they may own the billboards along the highways and even have their names on sporting arenas however having luxurious marketing avenues does not mean that they offer better products and services than locally owned businesses.
I am an owner of a local mortgage company, Riverbank Finance, and I see firsthand the dynamics of operating a small business and competing with big businesses. The mortgage services my company offers, for example, compete with the LendingTree who has a TV commercial on every 3 minutes, Bank of America who has branches on every corner and Quicken Loans who has their name on sporting arenas. Their marketing strategy may work for name recognition however it adds an incredible amount of overhead and extra costs that are ultimately passed to the consumer.
People like Doing Business with Other People
When a consumer picks up the phone and dials the 1-800 number they see on a commercial, they can expect to reach a call center and a different representative every time they dial. When working with a small local business they will know they have a direct line that can reach the same person every time. This allows them to feel comfortable and confident that someone is going to be accountable and looking out for their best interests. Small businesses can win by offering great customer service and personalizing their businesses.
Small Businesses can Compete by Being Flexible and Offering Niche Products and Services
Large companies operate with high overhead and expenses. They have more employees to pay, more office buildings to furnish and of course, that large marketing budget. To keep up with their large expenses they have to operation on a large scale. The only way to do this is to have processes and procedures that their employees must follow when working with their clients. If a client does not fit the mold then the client must be the one to accept change. By choosing a small business, a client can get personalized service that fits their needs and goals. Small businesses can win by being flexible and going the extra mile to offer exactly what the client needs.
More and more consumers are learning the benefits of buying local and keeping their money in the local economy. Being a small business has its challenges when competing with large competitors however they can be overcome by being excellent. Answer your phone even though you closed 15 minutes ago, make exceptions when a client needs a bit of help and be personable. Take pride in being a small business and gladly compete with the large companies that cannot offer the personalization that you can offer. Knowing your competitive advantages will help your company win when your next client chooses to go big or go local.