Tips for local small businesses to survive the large chain competitors?
That’s a fairly broad question! But here’s my best tip:
Do the things that can’t do well.
Being big has it’s advantages and disadvantages. So does being small.
The one consistent advantage that a small local business enjoys is their ability to be personal and connect with fellow locals. Play up that you are locally owned. Do the things that a big business can’t do well.
Larger chain companies typically compete on price and selection (quality). You may not have the best price, but you can certainly provide better service or a more curated selection of products.
Many large businesses marketing takes place from the home office. So they are completely out of touch with the local community which gives you another advantage. Again, focus on what they miss.
Have sales events that coincide with events that are specifically local to your community and completely off the radar of the big business. Yeah, you can have a Black Friday too. But what if you ran your biggest event when NO ONE ELSE IS. Now you don’t have to compete with their noise?
For example, in a town I grew up in, a few local businesses had a “Mud Season” sales event. Only this town celebrates the end of winter and the mud before spring returns. The big businesses don’t even know that this “mud season” exists, so they don’t have a sale during this time.
So another way of looking at this is “compte by not competing”. Do things differently and do things that they can’t do. That may mean knocking on doors. It may mean partnering with a local nonprofit and helping them raise money and at a time when the big business can’t do anything. It may mean having movie nights, holding special events, or inviting in speakers. The bottom line is don’t try and outdo what the big business is doing. You’ll lose. Do what they can’t or aren’t doing and you stand out.
Wow, tons of good info. Thank you!
I apologize for being vague. I am in security systems in a suburban town. My main struggles are around differentiating myself from the large competitors who already have their network and big ads.
It can be tough to market a security system company as “fun and different.”