Sometimes, when you’re the owner or manager of a local business, it seems as if there’s no way to compete with large, global companies, big-box stores, and well-known brand names with giant marketing budgets much bigger than your yearly sales.
So is it possible for local to beat global, or at least exist in harmony with it? Is there space for small business to prosper amidst the rows of big retailers and companies? How can it be done?
There are several ways in which small businesses can outshine the big guys. These angles can be capitalized on and used in a small business’s marketing efforts:
1. Personalized service: Small, local businesses will get to know their neighbourhood and regulars, and cater to their needs and wants better than a huge conglomerate could. It’s all in the details.
2. Less impact on the environment: Produce, for example, from a small, local farmers’ market or shop that sources its food locally has much less impact on the environment than produce shipped from California or Mexico to Canada. Think of all the fuel used to get that lettuce to your home; did it come from hundreds of kilometers away, or from a farm nearby? Shopkeepers can zero in on what makes their businesses more environmentally sustainable than the big guys.
3. Opportunity: Entrepreneurs can live their dreams of working for themselves; employees can be offered chances to try things they might not ever get the chance to do if they were working at a big-box store, such as supervise, learn how to buy or sell, marketing, etc.
4. Competition: Believe it or not, several small businesses in the same field will compete to deliver the best prices and service; big retailers will often create monopolies and then be able to charge whatever they like. Competition keeps local economies strong, service good, and prices fair.
5 Community well-being and character: Small businesses help to preserve an area’s uniqueness. Drive home “farm to table” if you’re a restaurant serving organic produce from area farms. Work with the vibe on Main Street and be part of its character. And, remember that if you want people to shop local, you should support other small businesses too! Local economies improve when small businesspeople support each other.
These are but a few ways to compete with big business, and do it well. If you’d like to read more about small versus big business, an article in Forbes last year dispelled some myths and misconceptions about buying local versus from big retailers, and some of the ideas were surprising; the point, however, is that small business is a vital part of any healthy community. Local businesses can not only survive, but even thrive, even when global companies offer less expensive options, since all of the points we’ve discussed show that price isn’t everything.
Are you a small-business owner? What would you add to our list of ways small business can compete with global business?