Web 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 business.

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 timshaw@bigpond.com Happy selling.

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

Copyright © 2005 All rights reserved Tim Shaw.