How Information Can Level the Playing Field
As a small to medium-sized business, (SMB) it can feel like the bigger competitors in your industry have all the advantages. Their larger teams and greater store of resources form a barrier to your own company's success - one that cannot be removed through playing by their playbook. The truth is, your best strategy is not in trying to apply their techniques at a smaller scale, but in making the most of your unique advantages as a more lightweight entity. By combining the benefits of speed and flexibility with the right information, you can level the playing field to capture a greater part of the market.
The Small-Scale Advantage of Speed
It may seem surprising, but there are some significant advantages to being an SMB. In a large corporation, nearly everything takes more time, limiting the businesses' ability to adapt in a timely manner to both unexpected events and changing industry factors. These organizations are often slowed down by lengthy approval processes, bureaucracy and even political and legal concerns, preventing them from acting quickly on the latest information.
By contrast, streamlined teams and communications allow your SMB to move quickly, changing tactics or processes almost immediately to address a new need or opportunity from your customer base. The advantage of a small size positions your business to make better use of market trends and real-time information than the larger competition, even in a crowded industry. The following methods and tools describe specific ways that you can use data and rapid adaptation to win market share against your competitors.
One area in which SMBs are better positioned than larger businesses to capitalize on information is through location-based advertising. While big corporations struggle to target customers across multiple locations, small- and medium-sized organizations like yours can more easily focus on a local audience. This local approach can provide your business with a much better result with a smaller advertising investment, and you can take advantage of local events to promote your company and products or services. The benefits of location-based advertising provided by tools like Google My Business are evidenced in BIA/Kelsey's report indicating that location-based mobile ad spend will reach nearly $30 billion by 2020.
Addressing Customer Needs
A great advantage of real-time data is seeing shifts in customer desires and needs as they happen. The approval processes and politics of large businesses mentioned above affect these organizations' ability to quickly identify and adjust to changing or rising customer needs. As an SMB, your flexibility gives you the opportunity to rapidly determine if a new product or shift in focus is required to meet those needs and get that solution out into the market while your competition is still in the discussion stages. Agility allows you to be constantly on the move when it comes to knowing and meeting customer demands.
Using Small Data
Although "big data' seems to be the focus when it comes to informing better business decisions, there are disadvantages to using the same large quantities of information that your competitors use. Obviously, you'll be working from the same data as the competition - and, more importantly, that big data is not always accurate. As a small or medium-sized business, you can take advantage of what is sometimes called "small data" - a subset of information that comes directly from your known customers. This information, while smaller in scale, offers the kind of high-quality, accurate information that makes it possible to make even better decisions for your company. This "deeper" data also saves time, as you won't have to sort through the useless segments of big data from third parties.
Being small doesn't have to be a disadvantage in business. In fact, with the right kind of data and agile processes to use it, you can succeed where your larger competition simply cannot.