Differentiate or diePosted by Celeste
Small businesses cannot just be like everybody else out there. They must have differentiated service. Differentiate or die means that you cannot beat the big players at the uniformity game. Your small business will never produce bottled water as cheaply as Nestle. Your book store will not sell more than Amazon. You cannot put out cheeseburgers as cheaply or in as many locations as McDonald’s. Don’t even try.
What you can do (and the way you will capture market share from the big boys) is differentiate.
When I ask people what they like about their local small businesses, the answer is often “the people”. Customers like the personal experience they have with friendly staff and the flexibility of dealing with the company owner or empowered employees to resolve any issues they might have. Personalized service is something that comes naturally to small companies and they should take the time to make their customers feel appreciated.
In a small operation, personal accountability for quality is a way of life. In a large corporation, there could have been any number of people or divisions responsible for a failure of service or product, but in a small firm, the owner has much greater control over the quality of output. Whether your company makes clothing or performs service for heavy machinery, your reputation for high quality work will keep them coming back to you.
Large corporations can be slow moving. Trends may come and go before the manufacturing arm of a large corporation can organize itself to capitalise on them. Small firms can be the ones that drive style and create the market for new products and services. Imagine for a moment that there is new research out about the health benefits of a certain vegetable -who will be the first to feature that vegetable in its breakfast smoothie line-up? You can bet that it will be a small company that experiments with new menu items and has instant customer feedback from its smoothie loving clientèle.
Image credit: Jack DaRos via Creative Commons License