How to become known as the alternative to your larger business competitors

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For many small businesses, setting themselves apart from the competition is often one the motivations for founding a company. This is especially true for those who position themselves as an alternative to the larger competitors of a business, those household brands that have dominated the market for decades. Bright eyed start-ups pitch their product or service as a new way of doing things, a better way of doing things.

Yet despite the promise of change and improvement for consumers – how do SMB owners actually go about challenging those corporate, often giant, competitors of a business? That’s not easy, but it’s also not impossible. With clear strategy, clever marketing and a focus on customer satisfaction rates – small businesses can succeed in becoming a preferred alternative to larger competitors.

So, if you feel more David than Goliath when it comes to your business proposition, then here’s our expert guide to helping you challenge large scale competitors of a business.


Set yourself apart from the competition

If you are looking to outsmart the competitors of a business, then you’ll need to begin by giving consumers a reason to switch to your brand. Disrupting consumer buying behaviour is a challenge, particularly when tasked with changing a habit ingrained over years – so making the distinction in what makes you different is crucial.

If you’re addressing something specific about what’s wrong with an existing offering, then make that clear. Think challenger banks, created to literally ‘challenge’ the big banks to do better whether that was by introducing app and digital banking, modern financial practices such as budgeting, tools or instant spend notifications or fun branding with brightly coloured debit cards. Make your difference the pivotal focus of your positioning and your promotion.


Give your business a strong online presence

Did you know that on average a consumer will need to see a brand name 7 times before they remember it? Building a strong online presence is key to challenging the competitors of a business.

Digital marketing channels and behaviours are no longer linear either. This means that at any one time, consumers could be interacting with your brand several different touch points, from email to Facebook and from websites to Paid Search. Having omnipresent digital marketing activity, even if only limited to non-paid channels at first, is a great way of putting your brand at the forefront of consumer buying decisions.


Build an excellent reputation with your customers

Reviews really do sell when it comes to small businesses. If a customer had never heard of brand, you could almost guarantee that the reviews section is where they’ll go first. This means that harnessing data and feedback is essential to helping boost your business and compete with the larger brands.

From delivering excellent customer service, to making improvements based on real-time customer feedback, you are demonstrating to prospective and existing customers that yours is a brand that listens and adapts, putting consumers at the heart of your offering. Which of course could be a key distinction between you and the bigger corporations.


Encourage customer retention

In the early stages of your business, you might need to work hard to keep your customers from reverting to their old buying habits and returning to the competitors of your business. One way of doing this effectively is by creating a customer loyalty scheme. By offering your customers benefits such as discounts each time they return to your business, you are providing a continuous incentive for them to choose you over your competitors.


Become a presence in the local community

One of the big advantages of a smaller business over the larger competition is that SMB’s can make real difference to their local community. In turn, this can help make your business a go-to brand in the area. By sponsoring a local football team or donating to a nearby charity, you are helping to demonstrate the ethos of your brand as one that cares about the community and the people who live there. In turn, you’ll also benefit from the advertising and marketing opportunities that come with an increased presence in the local region.


Take advantage of your smaller size

Another great advantage of being a smaller business is that there are less hoops to jump through in order to get an idea off the ground. What this could mean for you, is being able to be more reactive to new market trends than the competitors.

For instance, say there was a new social media platform that you believe a large segment of your target audience to be using – then as a small business, you should be able to build a presence on that platform quicker than bigger competitors who might require sign off from more senior stakeholders. It’s important to recognise the benefits of being a smaller business and harness the opportunities they can offer.


By adopting some of the strategies and tactics outlined here, you should be better equipped to become known as the alternative to your larger business competitors. And whether you succeed in disrupting the mass market or manage it on a more local level – changing consumer habits for the better is a success on any scale.

Don’t forget, if you need a place to build your small business manifesto from – you can choose from a range of flexible office spaces with us. Our packages start from just £10 per day on a hotdesking basis, to a more permanent coworking solution for you and your team. Get in touch today to find out more.