Small Business Marketing Strategies for Tackling Big Competitors

One of the great challenges facing small business owners is that they must often battle for customers against larger competitors, who can afford to run more advertising, offer lower prices, and who are better established in the marketplace.

And yet some small business owners do it very successfully. How?

There are some proven marketing strategies to use when competing against larger, more established competitors. These strategies have been used successfully by companies of all sizes to drive sales and carve out a sustainable position in the market. They apply to online commerce and traditional small businesses.

Here are details on two such strategies that you can use as a small business owner to help grow your business when competing with larger competitors:

Take the “Alternative” Position

If you are up against the market leader in your business, shift your market position so you don’t compete directly with them on their turf. Become the “alternative” to the market leader – that is, promote and advertise an aspect of your product/service that the leader simply can’t offer. This is a classic marketing strategy that has been used successfully by small companies and major corporations, because it allows you to compete with the leader in a part of the market where they may not be very strong.

Pepsi couldn’t beat Coke at the cola wars, because Coke was viewed as the original cola drink that had no substitutes. That was fine with Pepsi. It let Coke have that territory, and instead marketed itself as the “Choice of a New Generation”. Its marketing appeal and target audience was young and cool – everything that Coke couldn’t be with their more traditional positioning. Pepsi successfully carved out the number 2 position in the market by becoming the primary alternative to Coke, and made billions in the process.

The rule applies to everything from .com companies to local furniture stores. Survey the competitive landscape in your market and determine how you can position your business as the best alternative to the established market leader. Second place in a given market can be a very nice place to be from a profitability standpoint.

Sell what they don’t have – You!

Many small business owners have found success by building their personal reputations as experts in their field, with significant benefits to their small business. They have become the “public face” for their company.

Some large companies have a “public face”, a person who represents the company in the minds of customers (Richard Branson for Virgin is one). But most don’t. As a small business owner, you can effectively represent yourself as an expert in your area of expertise, and drive awareness for your small business in the process.

One of the most effective ways to build your reputation is through the credibility that comes from publicity and media relations activities.

Here are some guiding principles to working with the media as a small business owner:

View it as a relationship – reporters need story ideas and expert sources – you can offer both when it comes to your area of expertise to create a win-win situation

Pitch story ideas about what’s new and what’s changing – the media likes to break news about emerging trends, either in your industry or related to your experience as a small business owner

Strive for repeat business – once a reporter has identified you as a good source of information on a topic, they will keep coming back to you – so ensure that early in your relationship you are available to them and willing to offer help in getting information for them to pull a story together

Having a single person leading the charge to build media relationships and run the company makes it easier to transfer the goodwill that you achieve in the media over to your business activities. This doesn’t work nearly as well for larger companies, so leverage this competitive advantage and take a personal approach to building your business through publicity.

You Can Compete!

Small business marketing is all about leveraging the built-in advantages of being a small enterprise in the battle against larger competition for customers and sales. Establishing your business as an alternative to the market leader in your business, and building personal credibility that can be transferred to your small business are just two strategies that you can implement to help your small business succeed against bigger competitors.

The Advantages of Outsourcing Business Solutions

Outsourcing business solutions allows businesses to maintain a competitive edge while saving on costs. There are certain functions, like IT and web design, that are necessary but may not fall under a business’s core competencies. Maintaining in-house teams can be costly in terms of office space, equipment and training. Some businesses may not have the resources to spend on them.

By outsourcing their solutions, businesses can leverage the expertise of a provider at a fraction of the cost of maintaining in-house services. There are distinct advantages to outsourcing, including:

Cost-effective communication. Businesses can boost staff productivity with professional email and collaboration tools. These solutions require their own servers, however, and need to be maintained by a dedicated IT team. By outsourcing the IT solution, businesses can save on the cost and hassle of server maintenance while enjoying 24/7 support.

Professional Web design. Businesses may not have the time or expertise to design their own website. Through a provider, they can have a professionally designed corporate website built according to their budget and specifications.

Enhanced online visibility. It takes IT expertise to enhance a website’s visibility so the target audience can find it. By leveraging search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising services, businesses can reach their target audience without having to deal with complicated IT processes.

Easy setup of applications. Web applications let businesses manage online content efficiently and enhance customers’ experience. With a managed solution, businesses can easily add applications and upgrades without having to install anything on their own computers.

By outsourcing business solutions, companies can offload complicated processes to an experienced provider while streamlining their own resources towards their core business.

VoIP Business Solution – Saving Your Company Money

For a business VoIP plan, the cost currently is somewhere less than $50. Businesses are allowed to make calls to anyone in the USA and Canada at anytime on their home, business and cell phone free of charge.

While this probably won’t be of much concern when you’re calling a friend, but remains a huge topic for businesses that constantly use telephone communication for discussing pertinent business information. Those with home offices can also this as a separate business number.

For home or small business users, cable Internet service will provide the biggest savings, as most DSL service requires a land line telephone service account. In order to make use of VoIP business solution for placing internet telephone calls, you will need to subscribe to a service plan provided by one of the major VoIP service providers in business today.

Some companies charge for technical support, while many provide support during normal business hours. This is done remotely by the VoIP Hosted PBX provider, which also provides your company with greater flexibility to respond quickly to changing business or market conditions.

While the new VoIP service can save the average user a lot of money, a VoIP solution is by far an practical means for most small business users.

There is only one telecommunications solution that has the flexibility and capability to ensure business continuity and to keep business communications running in a major catastrophe — VoIP hosted PBX service. On the other hand, if you want business flexibility you should consider a small business package that costs more, but adds services like conferencing, a separate fax line, even an 800 number.

VoIP Phone Services- You also should to consider how easy-or how difficult-it is to install the service, both as a business option and for home use. If you are a internet shopper consider that most of the time you will be able to run across a discount code or rebate if you buy through a third party link.

To get started, there are some major players and most reputable VoIP providers in the small business and residential VoIP industry right now: Vonage, Packet8, and SunRocket. The quality and reliability of service has improved so much within the past year or so that a VoIP solution is now suitable and reliable enough for everyday residential and business use. Voip service plans offer voice over IP phone service, landline, long distance plans, cellular phones, cellular calling plans, broadband access to the Internet and a host of Internet and telecommunication services to residential, SOHO and small business customers nationwide.

The best way to choose a VoIP Business solution plan would be to search the better business bureau for complaints against the company, search Google reviews of complaints, opinions, or stop by a well rated VoIP forum and ask for advice.

Learn how a VoIP Business Solution can provide your company with huge savings when using a Business VoIP Solution.

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