Tips and practical advice for startups competing with the bigger brands.
In this post I share my top 3 start-up tips and practical advice for competing with the bigger brands assuming you have much lower budgets and are functioning without the historical consumer base or brand power behind you that you are competing against.
Knowing and growing your niche audience
The reason why many startups fail to grow as fast and as efficiently as they could it often down to trying to battle the bigger brands using their tactics. Not only does this often lead to wasted time, energy and expense, but it also removes attention away from the unique opportunities that only small businesses and start-ups have at their disposal.
By immersing yourself, your staff and your business in understanding the genuine wants, intentions, and emotive action drivers of your potential audience, you get to place your team and brand at the forefront of your niche audience problem solving, education and value driven search opportunity. (Note; this is the largest part of the information seeking and buyer behaviour funnel).
Key to this is gathering and effectively using data driven insights to create content that covers all of the core sales funnel areas:
Here’s some examples of this in practice:
Strengthening locally and building outwards
If you are operating online you do not want to shrink your potential audience by restricting it to location however, you do need to create a solid online foundation from which you can add to, build and expand effectively, regardless of competition scale – and maximising local as part of your core approach is a must in most cases.
National and global brands will struggle to compete at local level with strong start-ups and small businesses who embrace their local market and logically expand it by repeating what works, and truly dominating the business claim for local business.
Businesses often assume local means small – it doesn’t. Your location is your stronghold, the consistent opportunity that skews the odds in your favour.
Once you build out your local and national business online, don’t forget to consider setting up online entities abroad too!
WorldFirst state to do this:
“You want a new, untapped – or at least less crowded – market. Preferably one where customers have a healthy disposable income. Somewhere not mired in red tape. You want a good online infrastructure. And you want to avoid countries with a reputation for corruption so you can conduct business without fear of interference.” [Source: 5 places to set up an online business]
Some of the tactics you can use to maximise your location online include:
Reacting fast and innovating at every opportunity
A key strength of a small entity is it’s ability to react to changes, new demand and fresh opportunities faster than anyone else.
Without the burden of layers of sign-off and internal red tape, small start-ups can change course and maximise new potential business and brand awareness in a heartbeat.
An important element of this is staying ahead of trends.
According to SmallBusiness:
“A disadvantage that big clients will have over your small firm is that it’s difficult for them to implement changes or launch new services.
As a small business, you enjoy what’s known as agility, which means you can respond easily to change.
If you notice a gap in the market, or a new trend emerging, it’s easy for you to offer a new product or service, while a big firm will have to deal with national rollouts and major marketing campaigns.
Make sure you know what’s going on in your industry, and make connections with those in the know.”
[Source: Can small businesses compete with big brands]
As a start-up or emerging small business it can be tempting to copy the bigger brand, tried and test approach to online success but this has many pitfalls and often ignores the unique opportunities that a start-up can leverage to grow it’s brand and compete online.
The core factors to consider when competing against bigger brands include: