Small businesses face heavy competition not just from other small businesses, but also from large corporations and industry giants. Facing this type of competition is far from easy. Those big players have much more in the way of resources and existing customers. But it’s not impossible.
Audiobooks.com is no stranger to big competition. The company started out as a small business but has since become a major force in the audiobooks market. That success is a testament to the company’s ability to deal with large competitors, including companies like Amazon and Apple.
How to Compete Against Big Companies
For other small businesses that might be dealing with similar situations, the company’s leadership has shared some tips to help you survive and even thrive when facing big competitors.
Determine What Type of Market Share You’re After
When going up against big competition, you can’t hope to succeed without a really specific strategy. That means going after a specific type of customer or trying to expand the market to include some new customers.
Ian Small, General Manager at Audiobooks.com said in an email interview with Small Business Trends, “You have to ask yourself if you are attempting to take market share from a larger competitor, or if you’re attempting to take a percent of “new business” while expanding the market?”
Highlight What Makes You Different
From there, you need to determine what makes you stand out from your competitors. Then use that in your marketing to make sure you clearly outline why customers should choose you over all their other options.
This could be a difference in your actual products. It could mean that you provide more personalized service. Or it could be other factors like convenience or a unique buying experience.
Small also highlighted the importance of adaptability for small businesses dealing with competition from large corporations. Since those large companies often drive change within their industries, it’s important that you be able to adapt to those changes quickly so you don’t lose a step.
For example, your competition might start offering free shipping or returns. If customers start to get accustomed to that, then they might expect it from your business as well. And if you don’t offer it, they could see it as a major negative.
Take Advantage of Opportunities Quickly
In addition, if you’re agile enough to adapt to change quickly, you can also take advantage of new opportunities that come up. Maybe it’s a new trend or type of technology that will allow you to deliver your product or service in a new way. This can give you extra opportunities to differentiate your business from your larger competition that might not be able to move as quickly when those opportunities present themselves.
Use Data to Identify Opportunities
To identify those opportunities, Small suggests relying on hard data.
He says, “Have a disciplined approach to setting goals as well as developing the strategic methods with which you’ll achieve them. To me, this means being data driven – a concept that is frequently voiced but rarely executed effectively. Measuring data (the right data) can be an early indicator to opportunities in the market or deficiencies in your product/service.”
Take Measured Risks
In addition, it can be a good strategy to experiment a bit with new strategies and opportunities. You might just find something that works really well.
Small says, “I would also advise that small businesses experiment as much as possible, without being afraid of failure. Calculated risks can be necessary to succeed and without trying new things, you won’t learn anything new. It’s typically an uphill battle having a larger competitor, so experimenting in different capacities within your business and the consumer market could lead to positive discoveries that can you help you grow and succeed.”
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