SMEs vs Big Businesses

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Competition is good for us – it keeps us on our toes, forcing us to reassess the products and services we provide to ensure they continue to be market-leading. So whilst we may see competing against big businesses as a David and Goliath battle, remember that Goliath forces us to do better. Moreover, the very presence of a large business helps to validate and expand your market. If they’re targeting your space, it should lift your business, not just theirs.

Smaller businesses hold the advantage in being more nimble; they’re able to adjust quickly to the market and customer needs. The best never tire, and always look to leverage their agility. In this article, we discuss further on why energetic entrepreneurs will always be able to compete against the big guys.

Playing to strengths

As a small business, you don’t have the financial clout or resources that big companies rely upon. This doesn’t mean you can’t compete, you just have to focus on being agile.

As larger businesses grow they lose focus. They tend to offer a spread of products or services and give them all some attention, but never as much as they could. You, on the other hand, can focus on being dedicated to owning your niche in the marketplace. Once you have built the credibility in this area, you’ll have the momentum to then expand from there.

Whatever their marketing says, big companies can’t do customer service in the same way a small company can. They can’t remember every client’s name, make a decision over the phone without asking their manager, and – most importantly – they just don’t care as much. Not only will this help you win business, it will help you retain it too.

Don’t fail on things that you should easily beat the larger competition with. If you are not making the most of being an agile, decisive supplier that truly cares about what they deliver, you’ve lost the advantage to your bigger competitors. With this in mind, you should be constantly reviewing your processes and procedures so that you can be as responsive and attentive as possible – build a customer experience that a bigger company could never match.

Preparing for battle

It’s always important to keep an eye on your bigger competitors to see what they’re doing, but don’t let that guide your strategy. If you’re simply reacting to what they do, you’re always going to be a step behind.

If you do find yourself in head-to-head competition with a larger business, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and figure out your edge. It could be the ability to offer a customised service, bespoke product or more personalised aftercare.

If you really feel you can’t deliver in a particular area, don’t be afraid to collaborate with others. Strategic alliances with other small businesses to expand the range of products and services you can offer could open up a raft of opportunities for you.

This is a point worth emphasising because, particularly for government contracts, there are targets to award a certain amount of contracts to SMEs. Buying authorities and procurement teams are well aware that larger businesses don’t always offer best value. In fact, they realise some simply sub-contract work to smaller companies! As such, building a community of like-minded companies who can see your business as a potential partner rather than a threat could help you fight off even the biggest of Goliaths.

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Written by Mark Nutburn

CTO - technology professional with over 20 years of IT experience building bespoke CRM systems and designing customised software solutions. A key part of the management team at The British Assessment Bureau for many years and a part of AMTIVO’s management team.