story www.timshaw.com.au by Tim Shaw February 2006
Can smart small business beat the big guys?
A smart local business can beat the big guys
pretty much every time. Want to know how? The Sunday papers
are always full of colour catalogues with ‘hot’
prices every week. On bloody everything. If you need to buy
(or feel compelled to because it seems so well priced), then
consider this. Ask your local small business if they are smart
enough to want your business instead of you just giving it to
the big guys every time.
Don’t get me wrong. The big guys are fantastic. Brilliant
merchandising, product normally in stock to cash and carry that
day without waiting for a delivery (bigger capitalization to
allow them to hold more stock), and elephant size advertising
budgets keeping their brands in your face all the time. But
remember to let your local mum and dad business have a chance
to compete if they can, or in fact provide you with a better
solution to your needs.
I make it a practice to speak to my local smart businesses and
let them know what I may have seen in a big brand catalogue
prior to buying. I have to tell you that most times, my local
business can compete on price (price is not everything, but
is important) and generally either enhance the deal through
educating me as a consumer to other options, and sometimes an
upgrade on the product at no major extra cost can sometimes
happen which in the end is better for me. Traditional consumers
currently seem driven only by price. Price is only one component
of the sale. Smart business sales people need to keep reminding
consumers of that. What about localized and specialised service
and installation offerings? There is also the knowledge that
you are keeping a local family fed as well by supporting their
There are over a million small (some of them smart) businesses
in Australia. In total they sell more than the big guys and
employ more Australians. Competition is great. Category killing
is not, it forces the consumer into a false sense of security.
Local businesses need to be prudent on big ticket sales prices
and sometimes you may see your margins effected by big guy marketing.
But remember it takes you the same amount of time to win the
business as it does to lose it to the big guys. Remember a local
customer tells their friends about a great local sales and service
experience they have had.
The big guys are training their staff so well these days. You
must remember that service alone WILL NOT guarantee you a sale.
Start being innovative when competing for a sale with a savvy
local consumer. The big guy locations are now so ubiquitous
that it isn’t far to drive now to get big ticket items
at low low prices. Next month I will give you some case histories
and name some names. If you have an experience of your own to
share, email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Shaw appears as a sales expert on My Business TV - Channel
7 and on Channel 9’s Mornings with Kerrie-Ann. He can
diagnose sales and marketing opportunities available for your
business today. Tim is available as a keynote speaker for your
next sales meeting or conference. For more information or to
contact Tim visit www.timshaw.com.au