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The Top 5 Tactics For Startups To Compete With Big Companies

November 3, 2015

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When you’re first starting out on your startup journey, the world can be a pretty intimidating place, especially when it comes to competing against companies that are a lot larger and more established than you.

The problem is, the business world is a harsh world. It is very much dog eat dog and this means startups often have to fight hard if they want to compete with the giants. The good news is there are many startups that are perfect examples of where small companies have fought hard, worked even harder and eventually built up enough of a customer base and reputation that they can compete with the best of them.

But, when you’re first starting out, it can often seem easier to give up rather than carry on fighting in what might, at times, seem to be an endless struggle. The trick is not to give up though and take advice wherever you can get it from.

Below you’ll find five tactics that have helped others in the past and will hopefully help you compete with your own biggest competitors:

1. Take advantage of your small size

Being small might seem like a disadvantage but in reality being small can help you out a lot. For instance larger companies might well have access to resources that you don’t but they also have to contend with a lot of bureaucracy! This means they won’t be able to react as quickly as your company can, which is where you can make the most headway with their customers.

Slow customer service is just not acceptable these days, so if you can improve on lead times and answer phone calls and emails etc. quickly, then you’ll soon make a positive impression in the marketplace.

2. Never give up

When you’re first starting out you must accept that it’s not going to be easy. You are going to hear the word “no” a lot! However, the key tactic here is not to give up. Be persistent and keep those emails going out to clients, meet them for coffee and keep dishing out those business cards.

Sooner or later you will get the “yes” you need. This might be because someone is impressed with your persistence and drive or just because they are fed up with the service their current (larger) provider/ supplier is giving them. Either which way, you need to ensure you are in the forefront of their mind when it comes to them needing a solution to a problem.

3. Don’t let the bigger companies intimidate you

Being the small fish in a big pond can be intimidating, especially when you are seeing marketing campaigns costing millions sent out on a monthly basis, when you can only afford the one campaign that cost you a few thousand (if that much!) You must remember thought that the world does still value quality over quantity and that just because some companies have more money doesn’t mean they are better than you.

Invest in quality talent; talent that is passionate about your company and success is sure to come your way. Your company must value quality, be confident in its services/products and exude this confidence to your competitors. Keep in mind that once upon a time the bigger fish were the small fish…it’s just a question of belief and perseverance.

4. Understand your customers

Big corporations can be ridiculously arrogant once they reach multi-billion dollar status. They forget that it is thanks to their customers that they have reached the dizzy heights of success and as such ignore their customers’ feedback. This can lead to customers becoming increasingly disgruntled with the products and services being offered and this is where you can take advantage.

Your small business must invest in understanding what its customers want and you can only do this by listening carefully to your customers. Your company ethos must focus on the customer. Ask them what they want, listen carefully and then deliver it as best you can, and more importantly, better than your competitors currently do!

5. Be patient

Building up a business takes time and a lot of work. Try not to be dissatisfied with the speed at which you seem to be progressing at. Maintain a clear vision of where you want to be and persevere, even when it seems like nothing is working out the way you want it to. Hard work pays off and you will get your big break!

Have faith, don’t ever take anything for granted, and always be polite to those who say “no” to you. You never know when they might decide to say “yes” and give you the break you need, leading to your startup becoming the next big thing!

Good luck!

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