Most small businesses can point to a large company or corporation they consider competition. And because of the lower prices large companies can often offer, this competition is fierce.
But small businesses appeal to would-be customers in many ways – they’re nimble and able to adapt quickly to change. Most importantly, as a business owner you can enrich a customer’s life by how you interact with them – by finding common ground, and by building rapport with them.
Here are 5 ways small businesses can enrich customers’ lives and differentiate themselves from big businesses:
1. Personalize your customer interactions
One of the top complaints people have about working with big companies is bad to no customer service. As a small business you’re able to offer one-on-one customer service, so use this to your advantage. The 2nd or 3rd time you see your customer, try recalling their dog’s name, or mention the concert they were headed for the last time you met. You can use technology to help – keep notes on each of your customers online so you have round the clock access to your cheat sheet. You could also add a personal touch to your service by attaching before and after photos of the job to your invoice using Invoice2go, a Bill.com company. These small details will make your customer feel valued and will help to build a strong professional relationship.
2. Strong Values That Shine Through in Every Interaction
From day one, it’s important to ask yourself “what are my business values?” This might seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be. Simply align your personal values with your business. Perhaps it’s always keeping to your word, or being open and honest. This will guide you in the right direction when making decisions and dealing with customers. When you commit and work by these values, the personality of your business will shine through to your customers and help you stand out from the crowd.
3. Local Knowledge
It can be a great relief to customers to know they’re getting help from someone who is local. They want to support local businesses to keep the economy strong. Plus, building a local small business network is a powerful way to build up a referral network and differentiate yourself from larger companies. Consider joining a local small business group, find complementary services and trade business cards. Your customers will appreciate the trusted recommendations and it will benefit the extended small business community.
4. Community involvement
One way to differentiate your small business is to make an impact on the local community you serve. If you’re a volunteer, sit on the community board, or you’re a baseball coach, spending time supporting local events says you care about your community. The message to your customers becomes that you’re a good neighbor – which can’t always be said about large companies.
5. The Ultimate Differentiator: You – The Person Behind The Business
At the end of the day, the best way you can attract business, make a lasting impression on customers and stand out from large competitors is to be yourself. It’s no small feat starting up and running a business, but the passion that motivated you to strike out on your own is what potential customers will see. Keeping that passion front and center of everything you do will be your best differentiator to large competitors.
Looking for more tips on building a credible and trustworthy business? Check out our tips on how to build a credible brand as a one-person show.