Small businesses make up more than 90 percent of all the businesses in the United States.
However in the first year their doors are open, nearly 20 percent will fail. In five years, that
number increases to 50. That’s because there are a lot of hurdles to contend with when you
start a small business and how to deal with competition is one of the biggest.
Whether you’ve been in business a few years or you have just opened shop, you have a lot of
long days and late nights ahead of you. But you wouldn’t be where you are if you were afraid of
hard work. And many other small business owners can say the same thing. That’s why you
need proven tools and strategies to help you stand out from the competition.
Here are some of the most effective ones.
- Gone are the days of business cards and billboards, your website is your brand’s flagship now.
Even if you aren’t selling a product, you are selling a service, which makes e-commerce a part
of all companies in the digital age. You need a website that is simple to use, is beautiful on both
desktop and mobile, and provides solutions for your customers’ needs. Smart small business
owners do not leave their web presence up to chance.
- Hire a great web designer who can give your online brand the look and feel it needs to
win over customers and give them an effortless experience. Upwork notes that the right
free lance web designer will possess the necessary skills to make a stellar website, such
(WordPress, Joomla, Squarespace, etc.) as well as familiarity with UI and UX design.
- Get people from start to finish in as few clicks as possible. If they can make online
payments, connect to PayPal so they don’t have to hunt for a credit card.
- Tell your story and show your unique brand. What is it that your company does better
than anything else? Make sure your website clearly conveys that to potential clients.
- Maintain a strong, authentic social media presence. Talk to your customers, share your
personal story, and make your products and services more accessible.
- Keep an eye on the big guys, small businesses, even those that are direct competitors,
are more likely to succeed when they each other as opposed to fighting and competing.
It’s the giant online and brick-and- retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot that
most often take customers away small businesses. It seems overwhelming to think of taking
on one of these guys, but it is their size that is their Achilles’ heel.
Customers often feel like a number, not a person, you can use that to your advantage by:
- Being willing to provide a service that is as convenient as big online retailers, yet is more
personal and customized. Whenever possible, try to marry the in-person and online
experiences, so that the service is seamless and effortless.
- Giving your customers beautiful packaging options, along with fast and inexpensive
shipping methods. Be more than a brown box.
- Getting out into your community and making an impact. But do more than just donate
goods or services. Provide refreshments during a park cleanup, sponsor a little league
baseball team, or share your wisdom and experience with local nonprofits.
- Providing excellent customer service where people are made to feel like their concerns,
compliments, and experiences matter. If someone has a bad experience, go above and
beyond to fix it, even if the fault is their own.
The reality is, 90, 20, 50, those numbers mean a lot more than percentages. They represent
millions of employees, customers, and families who rely on the success of small businesses.
Being a leader in your field means you need a strong online presence, customer service that
shines, and a personalized experience that invites customers in and keeps them coming back.