Small businesses are usually working with limited resources and a tight budget, but this doesn’t mean that they can’t compete with larger enterprises. The challenges and restrictions of small businesses often mean that they find innovative ways to overcome problems and grow — in 2020 this has given them a competitive advantage.
We take a look at what small businesses are doing to compete with larger enterprises in 2020.
Adapting to change
Throughout 2020 there has been major disruption to everyday life and businesses around the world. But one of the key ways that small businesses have been able to compete with larger enterprises is by being more adaptable and flexible.
Change often takes a long time to plan, be approved, and executed in bigger businesses — there are several levels of sign off required and multiple teams to coordinate.
Small businesses can adapt to changes in the world and their target markets a lot quicker. It might take as little as one person approaching a manager for approval, forming a plan, and putting it into place in a matter of days or weeks.
For larger enterprises, these changes could take months, sometimes even years — and with the dramatic events of 2020, this flexibility has been a key factor in the success of many smaller businesses.
Small businesses are always looking for ways to increase productivity while sticking to fairly tight budgets. This is why software and tools have been essential for small businesses in 2020 — they’ve helped streamline operations, despite many businesses being forced to work remotely.
They’re focusing on ways to cut down on time-consuming admin — for example, using iCompario to find the right fuel card for their business that will save time and money on filling up company cars. And they’re using a site like Capterra to find the right tools to improve everything from project management and coordinating workflows, to communication software that makes it easy for remote teams to collaborate.
Smaller businesses are able to test out new tools and software and find the ones that are able to streamline their workflow. This puts them in a better position to compete with larger enterprises because they can free up their teams to deal with tasks that will improve and grow the business.
And on the other hand, larger enterprises have to deal with a lot more admin and are often not using the most efficient tools because they already have big, complicated systems in place, and switching over would take up too much time.
Establishing personal connections
With so much uncertainty this year due to the pandemic, businesses have had to communicate regularly with their customers about changes to operations, opening hours, and safety measures. Consumers are also becoming more careful with how and where they spend their money.
Small businesses have been able to make the most of this and build stronger connections with their customers on an individual basis using personalized emails and social media. They share more ad-hoc, personal updates about how the pandemic has impacted their business, and what they are doing to keep providing their products or services. But also messages about how they can help their customers, and in many cases what they’ve been doing to help out in their local community as a small business.
Larger enterprises are likely to have a huge customer base and reaching out to each person is going to be far too time-consuming. While it is possible to segment audiences and send out tailored emails and updates, their communications often come across as more corporate and impersonal.
Another way that small businesses have been competing with larger enterprises is by focusing on employee wellbeing, which in turn ensures they are more engaged and productive.
An important aspect of being more flexible and adapting to change, is that small businesses are training and upskilling their employees. This gives employees more experience and responsibility to keep them motivated but also gives the businesses a highly skilled workforce that can help them to overcome challenges and grow.
Small businesses are also focusing on benefits that support employees to make them feel valued and able to do their best work. They’re offering more flexibility on hours and support to deal with the strains of remote working.
Larger enterprises are often focused on targets and goals, and don’t spend as much time and resources on supporting and encouraging their employees. Employees that feel valued and appreciated are far more motivated, and likely to work harder towards a business’s goals.
Small businesses are competing with larger enterprises in 2020 by playing to their strengths — being able to be more personal with their customers and adapt to change more quickly. They’re finding ways to streamline their operations to better utilize their team’s time, and focusing on motivating employees to do the best job possible.