Seven Things Your Small Business Can Offer That Big Businesses Can't

Picture of Gina Blitstein Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.

Seven Things Your Small Business Can Offer That Big Businesses Can't

There are large businesses and small businesses in most industries. When you’re one of the smaller fish in the pond, it can be a challenge to avoid being swallowed up by the bigger ones who provide similar products and/or services. The “big guys” can frequently offer greater efficiency and selection at lower prices. How’s a little guy to compete?

There’s no shame in being precisely who you are as a smaller business. The key to holding your own against the goliaths is to pinpoint your business’ identity - and promote it as a selling feature. Discover the types of things that make your business unique; what you can offer that they don’t - or can’t. That’s where you can shine - and get noticed. The source of a small business’ power lies in what you sell and how you offer it. That’s a choice bigger businesses don’t usually have - so leverage it to your best advantage..

Here are seven things you can offer as a smaller business:

1. Unique Merchandise - Your small operation can choose to produce and/or sell whatever it wants. Offer distinctive products and customers will be excited to discover items they don’t see everywhere else they shop. Where larger stores may be able to dazzle customers with sheer numbers and variety, your focus can be on uniqueness and quality. Although larger businesses can offer “low, low prices,” they can’t offer the thoughtfully curated, out-of-the-ordinary merchandise yours can. Customers are willing to pay a bit more for unique and “boutique” items.

2. Individualized Services - Larger service businesses probably have a fairly generalized array of offerings for customers. Being a smaller, more agile concern, your business is in a better position to offer specialized services that cater directly to individual customer needs. You are free to create your own service packages or offer targeted, á la carte offerings targeted to the particular preferences of your customers.

3. Business Appearance - In a small business, you get to determine your decor and the arrangement of your merchandise. A larger business may have corporate directives mandating how the business must be set up. You have the freedom to rearrange and freshen up your look whenever you deem it appropriate. This provides visual interest for customers and ensures a unique shopping experience every time they stop by.

4. Customer Care - With a smaller staff, you’re more likely to personally get to know your customers, and they you. This puts you in an enviable position, able to more directly influence the customer experience for each of your patrons. With less personnel for company policies to be filtered through, customers are more likely to receive similar treatment every time they shop, from whomever is assisting them.

5. Personalized Marketing - Large stores are more likely to have marketing firms creating their advertising on their behalf. The result may be slick and professional but may lack the personal touch. No one knows your business and your potential customers as well as you. Your advertising efforts can highlight the elements of your business that appeal to its specific locale and the preferences of its residents. Customers who are interested in shopping local to support their communities’ economic strength will be attracted to marketing from a smaller business rather than a larger one.

6. Consistency - A smaller operation is likely to have a smaller, more stable staff. That helps ensure consistency among customer experiences, and over time. In a small hair salon, for example, it may be easier for customers to book an appointment with their favorite stylist than it would be at a larger shop.

7. Employee satisfaction - As with customers, your ability to directly influence the working conditions of your employees is higher in a smaller company. You can more easily revise schedules, give bonuses or promotions and respond to changing circumstances because there’s less red tape to navigate in a smaller business. Even if your wages and/or benefits don’t meet those of larger companies, a more hands-on approach to working conditions can help you make your business an employee-friendly place to work.

There’s no need for an inferiority complex because your business is smaller than others. You can do a lot to ensure your share of the market, despite the success of bigger companies. Identify, embrace and promote those elements of your business that give it its unique character and those who appreciate those special qualities will shop with you.

How does your small business hold its own in the face of bigger competition?

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