The small business advantage online - make the most of your size

Written on 02 June, 2008 by Jonathan Crossfield
Categories Small Business

Ok, so you’re not Amazon... yet. In the meantime you need to make the most of your size. There are a number of benefits that small business have over larger companies. I’ve had a lot of customers asking me how they can compete with the big guys, you can, you just need to play to your strengths.

Small business have the ability to get involved in the community and create trust. As I’ve mentioned in this blog before, trust is the biggest factor in someone deciding to go with you or your competitor.

For most business, customers will buy from people they ‘know’ over bigger faceless companies. Of course, this doesn’t apply equally to all industries. For example if you sell CDs, books and DVDs people will tend to go on price. So in those situations, if you can’t compete on price you need a good SEO strategy that will bring people to your site looking for information then get persuaded to buy something. This second strategy, the big guys simply can’t cover every angle . It’s your advantage, use it.

Another massive advantage you have over bigger companies is customer service. In larger companies economic rationalisation has largely stripped individual staff who work for big companies of having any human relatability in handing customers post sale. They’re just applying rules made by people who want to make money. If you call any big company see how long it takes you to reach a sales person vs a customer service rep. Case closed…

As a smaller business you have the ability to modify your service offering and really get to know your good customers in a way they won’t experience anywhere else. Get personal!

Which brings us to another point. If you’re a small business, don’t go and build yourself a massive flashy faceless business looking website. A lot of small business owners make the mistake of copying the big guys and ignoring the advantage you have of being able to personalise everything about your business. Example? You should not use manufacturers descriptions on your products, personalise them so they portray your personality and experience. Include photos of your staff and shop front (if you have one). And write a blog!

Unless you play to your strengths and have a proper SEO strategy the only people who will make money off your website are the developer and the hosting company.