You’re a small business, and you like it that way: by staying lean you can provide local customers with exceptional service and attention. But what happens when a “Big Box” version of your business moves into town and begins to crowd your territory? How can you compete with a chain’s lower prices and endless product offerings?
Instead of trying to emulate the large competitor with deep pockets, focus on what you do best because you’re small. For instance:
- Get personal. The word “custom” is part of “customer”. The more you can customize your customer service, the more your business will stand out as their go-to resource. Of course, you greet customers by name and ask after their families. And you keep the floors of your retail establishment or restaurant scrupulously clean and safe by having an XSORB Spill Station with Long Broom on hand in strategic locations, for those mishaps that spell “spill clean up needed now” in no uncertain terms. But what chain establishment is going to remember that Billy likes mustard on his fries instead of ketchup, or that May 16th is your 12th wedding anniversary? This is where small businesses can shine.
- Anticipate their needs. A small business can keep detailed track of customer needs, as well as when maintenance ought to be performed. Boat owners will appreciate that their local marina knows when they need to schedule seasonal maintenance and they’ll have oil absorbent booms, socks, pads and rolls in stock to serve customer needs.
- Take the long view. In an era of both astonishing waste and surging social responsibility, it’s vital to show customers your products are built to last. At Impact Absorbents, for example, we emphasize the non-toxic, environmentally friendly and cost effective advantages of using XSORB products, which are designed with both people and the planet in mind.
- Hire people with passion. Your team makes the difference. Choose people who not only have a passion for your business, but for customer care and innovation. Then give them a lot of free rein in how they do their job, and reward creativity and customer service. At a community co-op market, a creative staff member took a case of avocadoes that were too soft to sell and crafted a delectable, healthy chocolate mousse that customers went bananas over (though there were no bananas in the recipe). An employee at a large grocery chain would likely not have had the freedom to be so spontaneous and make customers happy while saving inventory in the bargain.