How Small Biz Can Compete With Major Corporations

Kelowna business competitng on priceKen Davidson is a Kelowna accountant with BDO Canada addressing one of the most important topics affecting small businesses.

Any small business that has every existed has had to ask themselves this one question: how can I compete with major retailers and big corporations?

There are fewer topics more relevant and important to all business owners than this one. Retail especially comes to mind but the service industry deals with this issue as well.  This is where decisions can literally make or break your business.

Figure Out What You’re An Expert In

Instead of trying to be a generalist and trying to attract everyone, become an expert at something. Decide what the expertise is going to be. What makes you different?

We all hate Walmart but the moment you walk in the door you know that you’re going to find what you are looking for at a reasonable price.

So how do we compete?

Let’s use a shoe company as an example. If you own a small shoe store and you try to compete with Walmart or the Shoe Warehouse, you’ll be out of business or you will need really deep pockets. You would need such a diverse inventory with a robust marketing campaign, both of which require absurd amounts of capital.

I can go and buy hiking boots from Walmart.

I can buy hiking boots from an outdoors store.

I can buy hiking boots at a small custom shoe store that specializes in hiking boots.

Which one am I going to get the best price at? Probably Walmart.

Selection-wise, where am I going to get the best option? It’s a tossup but I’m going to bet that you will get it at the outdoors store. They tend to be a little bit larger and have a wider selection.

Where am I going to get the right service to find the perfect boot to fit me?

It’s going to be the custom shoe store that specifically services people like you. When you go to Walmart, you will find your right size, try them on and then buy them if they fit.

The custom shoe store will have you trying on different boots to find the perfect fit. They know what to do if it’s a little too tight on one side or which style boot you need if you have a wider foot for example. If it makes your feet sore they can bring the boot into the shop and heat up the mold so it fits your foot better. They are committed to finding the perfect fit for you. They are specialists in their field.

Related: What Every Business Needs To Know About The BC HST Repeal

Is Price All That Matters?

Price matters but is it the key factor for somebody buying your service? Someone who passes up on the cheaper Walmart boots in favour of the specialized ones at the hiking store sees the value in paying more now for higher quality and longer lasting comfort. The price for that boot isn’t as important as the fit and quality.

Become that expert.

That’s what I believe a small business needs to do to be successful. You’ve got to be that company that knows your expertise and focuses on it. If you focus on becoming known as the expert, your advertising costs will go down and your demand will go up.

Specialist or Generalist

The number one thing for any small business is to become a specialist. Become an expert and that will make you successful. To put it bluntly, you probably can’t afford to be a generalist so why bother?

Your products and services will always be in greater demand if they meet the specific needs of a niche that your expertise can fill. So my task to you should you choose to accept, is to:

  • Figure out what you are an expert in
  • Make sure people want it
  • Focus, specialize and go above and beyond


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