Beating Out the Big Box
Your business is going along well – you have satisfied customers, sales are coming in, and you’re managing overhead. Then suddenly, a sign goes up across the street from your company that says something like “coming soon – big box store.” Immediately, you break out into a cold sweat thinking about how you will compete with one of the large national chains. Will your customers leave and shop there instead?
Before the big box store becomes a reality, take some time to examine your business operations. Here are a few key questions to help you prepare for this new competition:
- What can your company offer customers that the big box can’t? Maybe you have the ability to locate one-of-a-kind items or produce custom-made products. The big box store will struggle to offer anything unique or hand-crafted.
- Are you recognized for having great customer service? If not, now is the time to focus your efforts on making sure each and every customer is happy with your company. And, help them tell others about their positive experiences through online review services and social media. Most big box stores are notorious for having poor customer service.
- What’s your USP (unique selling proposition)? This is what differentiates you from the competition – both large and small. What’s your secret weapon? It doesn’t have to be about product or price. Maybe your organization is passionate about a particular charity or you have a really cool story to tell about how your business was founded.
Don’t think you can match a big box store just on price. However, effectively managing costs and cash flow is now more important than ever. Make sure you keep an eye on administrative costs and look for ways to save money. Don’t forget how barter can help you pay for business expenses without outlaying cash. It might just help you knock that big box down a few notches!