Getting Business When You’re the Little Guy
If you’re just starting out in a new industry or if you’re significantly smaller than your competitors, read this carefully. People often think that size is a huge barrier to success. In reality, not only can you succeed even if you’re small, but your small size can actually be an advantage.
Here are a few tips for getting business if you’re smaller than your competition.
==> Do Unusual Projects
If your customer comes to you with an unusual project request, say “yes.”
Larger companies often just can’t handle these kinds of requests. They have bulk fulfillment procedures that would take far too long to retask for small custom gigs.
Smaller companies on the other hand can take on these projects, gain a customer and get more of a foothold in the industry.
==> Do Interim or Short-Term Gigs
If most of your industry insists on long-term contracts, be the one that’s willing to do one-offs.
Take lawyers for instance. Many lawyers require you to sign a retainer agreement before they’ll even talk to you.
That’s why so many “do your legal paperwork online” websites have popped up. People would often much rather pay a one-off fee than sign up for a long-term agreement.
==> Move Quickly to Industry Changes
Large companies can’t move very quickly. Small companies can.
If the market moves in one direction, you should move in that direction as well. If people are demanding a new product or service, move quickly to try and fulfill that need. Be the first to market, even if the product isn’t perfect.
==> Do Loss Leaders
If you’re in the business of selling $2,000 websites, it could make a lot of sense to also have some sort of service that you can sell for $50, $100 or $200.
This gets people into your pipeline. It helps people get to know you better and establish some trust.
You can then sell these people on your higher end programs.
==> International Gigs
If the majority of your competition is only focusing on the domestic market, consider courting the international market.
With so many international advertising tools available now, the room to grow is simply astronomical. Most businesses focus on the domestic market not because of a business choice, but out of habit and convenience.
If you’re the little guy, you can build a name for yourself much faster and much more cheaply by going international.
Above all else, the one thing you should not do if you’re just starting out is try to compete on the same grounds as the big players. If you can’t compete on price, don’t try to. Instead, try to pick an advantage (speed, location, types of jobs, lengths of contracts, etc.) and really carve out a market for yourself based on that advantage.