The time has come to level the playing field
Life can be tough for small businesses, especially in 2020. This has been a difficult year for many small companies who have had to rethink and restructure in order to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But if you’re finding yourself motivationally spent, we’re here to remind you that small businesses can still do big things. And yes, they can even compete with the big brand names in their field.
To prove it, here are five ways your small business can level the playing field against big brands.
If you don’t like the rules, change them
Inventive thinking goes a long way in the world of business. You’re unlikely to be able to beat big brands on price cuts alone, but that doesn’t mean you need to lose out on custom. You simply need to find new ways to entice customers – things that offer just as much benefit as a slightly lower price.
Gifts with purchase? Reward schemes? Extended payment terms? These are all viable options, but even spreading the word about the personalised service you offer could be enough to convince some people to switch from a big brand.
Find new sources of finance
You first port of call for financial aid is usually the bank, right? But as banks become increasingly consolidated, it can be part to let them know who you and your business really are. As consequence, the only thing they concern themselves with is how much you want and when you can pay it back.
But there are other options out there when it comes to stretching your purse strings, you just need to do your research. We are the key delivery partner for Virgin StartUp loans in the North East. These are low interest loans that also provide invaluable additional exposure to the wider Virgin network.
You’ll never be able to compete with big brands when it comes to budgeting paid advertising, which is why making real connections is so important. Get to know other small businesses in your industry and make the effort to lift each other up, creating a community of supportive entrepreneurial minds. You should also use marketing and social media to your advantage, spreading the word about your business services in a real and organic way.
Of course, you shouldn’t shy away from paid advertising in order to give you a boost, but it can’t act as a replacement for real, honest communication.
Keep the three Cs in mind
To sum up what we’ve learned so far, it’s vital that as a small business you remember the three Cs. There are:
Competition, Credit and Connection.
Getting ahead against your Competition means finding ways to outflank and outmanoeuvre your big brand competitors, whether through personalised service or unique shopping incentives. Accessing Credit involves exploring alternative ways to finance your business endeavours without relying on banks. And finally, Connection includes networking and reaching out in order to form valuable relationships both with other brands and with customers.
Be proud of your status
But that’s not all there is to succeeding as a small business. Lastly, but by no means least, we want to highlight the importance of being proud of your status as a small, local brand.
More and more people are beginning to recognise the value that local businesses bring to a community, and customers are increasingly being encouraged to shop local instead of relying on big brands like Amazon. In fact, a survey conducted by Zendesk found that a whopping 91% of customers prefer small businesses when convenient.
So instead of trying to pass yourself as a bigger company than you actually are, now is the time to embrace your size and actually highlight the fact that you are a small, local organisation with real people behind it.