Every business starts small, but no one starts small and hopes to remain small. Some of the biggest and most successful businesses today were likely no more than a few wobbly letters scribbled on pieces of napkin when they started. In fact, many businesses today started off in garages.
So, the first thing to consider is that all of these big businesses actually started like that small business that you have started or are in the process of starting.
The second thing to consider is that many of the businesses that started alongside those big businesses we are all too familiar with, as a matter of fact more than 80% of them, no longer exist. Those that survived, have survived because they have developed and adopted certain strategies.
Now, you are probably wondering what these strategies are, right? They may be things you have heard about but probably did not fully understand or did not pay adequate attention to. Let’s take a look at some of these strategies adopted by big businesses for survival and growth:
1. Make your customers work for you
This might sound odd, but your customers can work for you without pay. Many small businesses do not appreciate the small number of customers they have at the moment. They forget that those five or six customers that come every day should be top reasons for opening their doors every morning.
If you treat those few people exceptionally well, they will go out and tell their friends, families, colleagues, and be your marketing executives for free. Word of mouth can give you a great boost.
In a recent study of 300 marketing directors by Demand Metric, about 72 percent of large companies report that they get a sizable revenue contribution from customer marketing and, according to New York Times, 65% of new business leads come as a result of referrals.
Customer service goes an extremely long way.
2. Look for a niche and own it
One of the greatest mistakes most small businesses make is that they launch with the unrealistic dream of competing and overtaking already established businesses, especially those global behemoths that exist today. It’s a wild goose chase! Even as big as Pepsi is and as long as it has tried, it is still not able to beat Coca-Cola’s market share of soft drink consumers in the United States. Coca-Cola, holds about 40% of the market but that doesn’t mean Pepsi has not been a success on its own.
Instead of trying to fight, look for a small segment of the market, identify their needs and create a product to attend to those needs – it is called ‘market segmentation.” Find that segment of the market that you can serve comfortably and profitably, focus on it.
3. Get up and lead
You must look out for new opportunities and how to take advantage of them. Once you find a viable opportunity, get up fast and lead. You remember what they say about first movers? Ask eBay or Coca-Cola.
Your small business can survive and grow, but you need a working strategy – the type big businesses adopt.
For more strategies on how you can grow your business, check out American Express’ Open Forum.