1. Find a Niche. For small businesses, it is best to find a niche. A small company with limited resources can efficiently serve niche markets. Concentrate your efforts on a fairly narrow market offering. This entails sticking to what you do best, and becoming an expert in that field. Realize that it is not possible to be good at everything. By concentrating on a fairly narrow market niche, you may be able to avoid head-on collision with bigger competitors. If you are a hardware store selling everything from paints to lumber, the entry of giant retailers like Home Depot in your area can spell the end for your business. However, you can try to limit your offering, for example, to construction of porches and decks and be the best retailer for this segment.
2. Be small, yet think big. The most common question of small business start-ups is “How can I compete with my big competitors?“ Small businesses have inherent advantages over big businesses, including flexibility, ability to respond quickly, able to provide a more personalized service. Make sure that your business takes maximum advantage of those areas that represent the strengths of small companies.
3. Differentiate your products. Present the benefits of your products and services to your customers, highlighting the unique solutions it offers to their problems. Avoid being a copycat; rarely do imitators succeed in the market. Study, but do not copy your competitors, and package your products distinctly.
4. First impression counts. Strive for accuracy and quality the first time around. You often do not have a second chance to make a good first impression. This entails a well-laid out store, courteous staff, and personable voice over the phone, etc. However, if you are a one-person business working in a home office, remember that you are the center of your business and marketing efforts. Everyone you come in touch with is potentially a client or a referral to another client because they are either impressed with you as a person, impressed with your skill at providing a certain service or product. Make sure that you are always presentable, professional in your ways and knowledgeable about your business.
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