Being the little guy is often an unenviable position to be in. This stays absolutely true for small business. How does the underdog compete among the big brands?

Get specific and comfortable in niches

Get your niche on people.

If you are entering an established market, as most do, you need to have a fairly large bag of moxie to compete. But compete you can!

There is advantage to being the underdog and one of those advantages is the ability to hone in nice and tightly on overlooked niches that the big players don’t need to bother with.

Its a bit like hoovering up the crumbs while the cake is being eaten – but those crumbs can be an absolute fortune to a small business.

So what can you address that the others don’t? If you want to compete in retail, have a unique product that nobody else has. If it’s a service you offer, make it specific and ignore the general market.

For example if you are a physiotherapist why not specialise and have a shoulder focused practice for sportspeople? There are plenty of generalists but if you have a shoulder injury (and so many of us do) – you want a specialist. This is a great advantage that makes less sense to large businesses.

What makes you so special?

So what’s your story?

  • Do you have a unique proposition?
  • Are you really cheap?
  • Are you a luxury service?
  • What makes you a unique and approachable business?

If you spend time crafting a brand story – be it personal branding or business branding – you will have a much stronger chance of snaring interest over a faceless larger business.

Make sure your marketing efforts, social media pages, website and communications are built around telling potential consumers about your brand proposition, your reason to buy.

Get personal like nobody else can

A large business can often fall prey to the trap of seeming to be a faceless monolith. This often breeds contempt and a builds a sense that you are another face in the crowd to them. Because you probably are.

This creates an opportunity for the right small business to really shine with personalised service. Personalised service in the true sense of the word can only be done personally – something a large company simply cannot replicate.

This is a chance to push your personal brand – becoming a face rather than a logo brings enormous benefit and trust from your clients.

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick

Jack was agile enough to jump over the candle stick. A small business can be like Jack – quick to adopt new technology or practices, quick to alter services, quick to bring new products to market and quick to respond to consumers and market trends.

This kind of agility is only possessed by small operations – no matter how savvy a large business, these changes wil grind into effect  – while you can blink them into existence.

In this way you will snag customers by being first to the post, grabbing the need while the Goliath catches up.