David vs. Goliath — how small brands out-maneuver industry giants.

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Since Ivy League dropouts turned billionaire entrepreneurs have taken the place of society’s electric guitar shredding rockstars, businesses across the country now believe the only business worth having is the business that is growing at a lightning pace.

Scale. Scale. Scale. It’s all we hear nowadays. It’s a mindset that has been fueled by the “Gods” of Silicon Valley. And, as American small business owners are drinking the Kool-Aid by the gallons, their businesses are suffering as a result.

Good business practice is no longer about offering a handful of loyal customers a world-class product, but instead bringing a good (sometimes mediocre) product to as many people as possible.

In other words, the question businesses are asking has gone from —

How can I make Janet’s dining experience here the best she has ever had?

— to —

How can I get Janet in and out of this restaurant as quickly as possible so I can serve the next person in line?

Customers are smart — they know when their favorite businesses start choosing the bottom line over the quality of their products and services

Make no qualms about it, while this growth mindset might work for McDonald’s it will never work for small businesses. In fact, it will eventually kill them.

I believe that in the next decade or so, the way businesses will survive the Amazon’s and Walmart’s and McDonald’s won’t be by trying to out grow them… it will be by outdoing them when it comes to the little things.

Since Amazon, Walmart and McDonalds have grown too big to effectively do these little things, it gives small to medium-sized businesses a huge advantage — they are still nimble enough to easily go the extra mile for their customers and that’s going to make a world of difference as competition becomes increasingly stiff.

Here are a handful of little things that small brands can do that industry giants can’t. In other words, here is how you outmaneuver Amazon —

  1. You build one on one relationships with your customers. As much as we love Starbucks, there is nothing like walking into your favorite local coffee shop and saying to the barista, “I’ll take my usual.” They know you. They know what you like. They’ve built a one on one relationship with you.
  2. Value quality over time. I touched on this a bit earlier. McDonald’s is about moving people through the line as quickly as possible. Sam’s Burger Stop can be an obvious choice over McDonald’s because they choose to value the quality of their product over the time it takes to make it. You have a choice. You can choose time. You can choose quality. You can rarely choose both. You will never beat McDonald’s in a foot race. You can, however, beat them when it comes to quality.
  3. Experience. Experience. Experience. Customer’s know what they are going to get when they go to Walmart — cheap prices and hell. Customer’s know what they are going to get when they go to Amazon — cheap prices and 2-day shipping. Customer’s know what they are going to get when they go to McDonald’s — cheap prices and subpar food. You need to decide what the experience is going to be when your customers come to your store or use your service. While you can’t be cheaper than any of the big brands I named previously, you can offer a better experience.

By Cole Schafer.

Cole is the copy chief at Honey Copy, where he helps startups make more money through emails and landing pages that read like poetry and sell like Ogilvy. When he isn’t slinging copy, he is right here on Medium sharing ideas about life, business, marketing and plums. Or riding alpacas…

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I write pretty words and sometimes sell things. https://coleschafer.com/subscribe

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