With the behemoths of the UK business scene perpetually expanding in both scope and space, it may seem as if the little guy – be he a franchisee or independent retailer – is fighting a losing battle. The decline of the UK high street has received extensive coverage as of late, while giants such as Tesco continue to expand their presence across a catalogue of categories, eating into the markets of smaller retailer who cannot match the predatory pricing and economies of scale furnished by goliath competitors.
But the parable of the wren and the eagle rings true in this scenario, as despite the disparity in size and resources, smaller businesses (including most franchises) still have advantages that they can bring to bear, guaranteeing their stake in the market remains secure from corporate consumption.
Customer service is the cornerstone of any successful small enterprise and a strength that SME’s can level to their advantage. Doe to their more personal operation, small businesses can be far more responsive and open to their clientele’s needs than larger more cumbersome enterprises. This also makes small businesses more agile in the sense that they are better equipped to adapt rapidly to changes within the market, enabling them to capitalise on the latest trends.
Thus, treating every customer as special can help guarantee your business’ continued prosperity. Cultivating customer loyalty is pivotal, and so if a bulkier competitor arrives on the scene, offering loyalty options might be an avenue worth venturing down. Present an image of consummate professionalism; it doesn’t matter how small your operation is – if you take it seriously, others will too.
Niche marketing is the key to success for any small company and the ideal tonic to the rampant diversity of larger firms. In other words, while entities of the scope of Tesco aspire to be jacks of all trades, you should strive to be the master of just one, but by focussing your resources on that goal, you can guarantee that your business has an intimate knowledge of its market surpassing anything a generalist has to offer, and so when customers who really know what they’re after, and recognise quality and commitment when they see it, will come looking for you. In all probability, you will not be able to trump larger rivals on the price front. Instead, place a premium on the uniqueness of your offering, as this is often what entices customers to support a smaller business. Give them a good reason to buy from you, and they will!
In an increasingly competitive business landscape where inefficiencies can be fatal, making the most of every resource available is a fundamental ingredient in the formula for success, and one way to do this is to optimise your use of technology to maximise the efficacy of your operations. Various tools for keeping tabs of clients and inventory are now available at relatively low cost and really help your business stay on track. Furthermore, if your franchise lacks a web presence, this is something you may want to seriously consider, as it can offer you a whole new dimension for advertising and client acquisition and interaction.