How Your Small Business Can Beat a $1 Billion Competitor

It’s undeniable: Big companies can do big things. Deep pockets, extensive resources, lots of manpower… wouldn’t it be nice?

But that’s part of entrepreneurship’s thrill. To be a successful entrepreneur, you must be nimble; you have to do more with less.

If you’re competing with major players in a well-established market, you have to find ways to disrupt your industry, differentiate yourself, and develop a loyal customer following.

So how, exactly, do you go head-to-head with big competitors? For the most part, you can’t. But with some creativity, perseverance, and innovation, you can use the size of your small startup to your advantage. Here’s how:

Carve out your niche and develop a unique differentiator

Know this: no business–especially a small one–can be all things to all customers. That’s why it’s important to develop your niche. Do your research. Identify your core customers and articulate how your customer experience will be different. What will you do to be exceptional?

For example, there are five coffee shops in a one-block radius around my office–Starbucks, Peet’s, a couple boutique shops, and then there’s Boston Brewin’. My team gets coffee from Boston Brewin’ every morning.

What makes it special? The owner, Tom, knows all his repeat customers’ names, sources only organic, fair-trade coffee, and has partnerships with several local charities. His entire business model revolves around “giving back.” Buying coffee from him, as opposed to a big chain, makes me feel like I’m doing some good in the world. How’s that for a differentiator?