Nobody likes feeling like a small fish in a big pond, but even small businesses can find ways to carve a market
Any entrepreneur knows that business success is about more than just luck. It’s about seizing opportunities, planning ahead and finding your niche. But how much harder does finding your niche become when you’re working within a highly competitive industry, and what can you do to help your brand stand out?
Picking your moment
Like anything, timing is key when it comes to getting your business off the ground. New phenomena can open the door to serious possibilities. Just ask the likes of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, who both invested in internet products at the same time and evolved their brands alongside the shifting landscape of digitalisation.
Amazon began life as a bookseller, but set itself apart by embracing the internet and spearheading the move towards eBooks and self-publishing. Similarly, Bitcoin began life as a niche experiment. In 2010 a developer bought two pizzas for 10,000 Bitcoin. Today, that amount of the cryptocurrency is worth roughly $100 million.
These are extreme examples, but there’s no doubt that riding a wave at the right moment gives you the chance to outdo competitors and take your industry to new places.
Change up an existing in market
Even if you find yourself in a busy industry, that doesn’t mean you have to simply stick to the status quo. Finding ways to change up your industry allows you to stand out and be heard.
Take the gambling industry for example. Back in the 1990s, online casinos were very much in the minority — the odd desktop PC platform was unable to compete with the popular establishments located on most high streets. Now, thanks to the rise of online gambling spearheaded by a few key businesses, most betting is done on mobiles. In fact, the Gambling Commission reports that one third of all gambling revenue now comes from online gambling.
Strategy is key
If you’re looking to enter a new market fast and hit the ground running, then a strategy eared to just that is key. A plan and approach are vital, from strict budgeting that reacts to the needs of marketing at a certain time, to a timeline centred around meeting targets.
Find ways to make your business as productive and streamlined as possible, be it through co-working spaces, reaching out to influencers, reduced meetings or remote working. Don’t be afraid to explore all avenues and think outside the box in order to determine what works.
Find your angle
If your industry is full of competitors, you need to aim to be different from them, rather than simply following in their footsteps.
One way to do this is to take advantage of your status as a small business. Not everyone is looking to big corporations for their services, so there’s definitely benefits to showing yourself as a boutique brand which can deliver a personalised service for a more reasonable price.
Another way to stand out is by playing on a local angle. Large businesses rarely engage fully with their local area, as they need to be applicable to a national or even global audience. This gives smaller brands the chance to align themselves with other local businesses and communities, building on their success through local events, opportunities and good old-fashioned word of mouth.
Don’t give up
Going up against established competitors can be daunting, but determination is key to building on your success and carving your place in the market. Finding the right balance between flexibility and knowing your goals is also important.
In short, having the tenacity to keep moving forward means that, eventually, your business can become one of the established organizations people are competing with.