Like the movie
In the movie “You’ve Got Mail”, if you put the love angle aside for a moment you’ll remember a sub-plot in which heroine Annie Reed (played by Meg Ryan) was forced out of business when big-time bookstore owner Sam Baldwin (played by Tom Hanks) moved into town.
You may recall that Annie owned a quaint little bookstore which she inherited from her mother, and although the prices of her books are a little more costly, she makes up for it with excellent service which included packing the books in a specialized bag and knowing all her customers by name.
Sam, on the other hand, moved into town to build a branch for a big chain-bookstore which offered discounted prices out of a huge building which housed the company’s operations, which made Annie’s little bookshop on one corner of the town’s street seem inconsequential.
As the movie went, Annie was forced out of business because her customers went to Sam’s monstrous bookshop, and although they did not get the kind of customized service offered by the small “mom and pop” store she operated they paid less and presumably benefitted from having a larger selection of books.
Thinking back to the movie, we’re told that Annie was forced out of business because she can no longer realize a profit due to her prices being too steep as compared to her competitor’s big business discounted rates; and therefore her only edge is to provide personal service and employ a very small staff (about 2 or 3 employees).
The movie aside, however, this situation no longer holds true in the modern-day business environment, as more and more small businesses are blazing the trail and giving big businesses a dose of their own medicine.
As a small organization you may consider incorporating these tools, resources and features in your daily operations as an edge in competing against the big business sharks. That having been said, here are a few tips on how you can hold your own against a big business:
1. Small businesses have big competition – This means that you need to know how to survive out there. No matter what nature of business you own or manage, it is better to learn about the competition so that you will be able to survive.
2. Keep your business alive – When it seems as if your cash flow is on a downward spiral, keep a tight rein on your budget. Do not spend on unnecessary business purchases, and always balance your books. If you are one who is prone to buying on impulse, or if you are the type who listens to those that sweet-talk you into purchasing “necessary” items, control yourself. Get a second and third opinion if possible, as these impulsive buys may lead to the end of your small organization.
3. Do not be afraid to seek professional help – The fall of most small businesses start with decisions on problems which are not carefully analyzed. Although you may think that you already have a contingency plan, make sure you have foreseen the results of a particular business decision; but in the long run, it is better to seek professional help than to embark on a plan that could lead to the downfall of your business.
4. Keep your books straight – The better option is for you to hire an outside accountant who is a professional to figure the returns of your investment and handle other financial aspects of your business.
5. Take advantage of every free business counseling whenever available – This not only helps to broaden your knowledge, but it will also give you an idea of how other businesses are managed by small-scale owners.
6. Know exactly where your business is headed – In your day-to-day operation, make sure you know where you want your company to be five or ten years down the road, and be always aware of the trends in your industry. Practice good money management and learn how to recognize potential problems before they arise.
7. Learn how to market your small organization – Marketing is not about trying to sell your products and services to everyone, but rather, it is about knowing who to market your products to. In marketing, it is good to remember these fast facts:
- Know about your customers.
- Communicate with your customers.
- Build a good and personalized relationship with your customers.
Never stop marketing!
This will be a great edge for you to have against the bigger companies. They might offer discounted prices but it is harder for them to keep track of customers on as personal a level as you can.
As a small organization, you need to routinely review the markets that you need to pursue so that you can better reach out to your customers. Remember, small organizations are big businesses these days so do not be afraid to work hard for the company that you have – no matter it’s size; because ultimately, if you work hard, make wise business decisions, learn how to market your small business and personalize your customer interaction, your small-scale business is sure to rise to the top.