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Do it like the giants what SMEs can learn from competitive industry leaders

It is not an easy task to run your own small or medium enterprise (SME). More often than not, your SME will have to vie with bigger and stronger competitors for the same target group, while it can be very hard to raise finance. It may be the case that SMEs do not have as many means in their disposal as big companies that are active in highly competitive sectors – but that doesn’t mean that they can’t learn a trick or two from them.

Connect with Your Audience

SMEs are the backbone of the British economy. As the Federation of Small Businesses reports, in 2018 there were a whopping 5.6 million small businesses in the UK, which means they accounted for 99.3% of the private sector across Britain and Northern Ireland. If you throw in medium-sized businesses, then SMEs represent a staggering 99.9% of all private businesses. In every main industry sector, 99.5% of companies are SMEs, with nearly 1 in 5 SMEs operating in construction. They have also created roughly 16.3 million jobs, making up 60% of all employment in the private sector, as well as 52% of the sector’s annual turnover, bringing in some £2 trillion. These impressive statistics highlight that SMEs are very successful and they contribute significantly to the national economy – but the hidden trick up their sleeve is that due to their small size, they have exceptional connections to local economies, too.

While your small or medium-sized business might not have the powerhouse of a consumer electronics industry leader like Apple, you have a head start when it comes to building brand loyalty, which is the cornerstone of the consumer electronics industry. Developing a unique connection with their target audience is what Apple has carefully invested in over the years. Besides being sure that they receive cutting-edge tech solutions, Apple customers keep returning because they view buying an iPhone or a Mac as a lifestyle choice before anything else. One of the biggest benefits of running a SME is that you can build personal relationships with customers, employees and suppliers. Use that to your advantage: make them feel that sticking with your brand is a lifestyle choice like choosing between Apple or Microsoft. Most of all, make them understand how supporting your brand is linked to supporting the local economy – and you will have won your clients over for life.

Spoil Your Customers – Especially Newcomers

Retaining your customers is vital to your financial sustainability – and so does getting new clients on board. As the online gaming industry has demonstrated, it is important to keep improving your products and services so that even your long-term customers will know they’ll get something extra each time. Ubisoft is a great case study in that respect. When they released the first Assassin’s Creed in 2007, gamers were enthusiastic to see great gameplay combined with amazing graphics and historical details. After that, the studio continuously released new instalments in the series, culminating in last year’s Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. They all revolved around a similar premise, but were set in different eras, offering new exciting features every time.

The online casino industry is a sub-sector of the highly competitive gaming industry that knows how to win over new customers all too well. There are so many online casinos that well-established providers routinely offer welcome bonuses to attract punters. Betway online casino offers a 100% match bonus on the first deposit a client makes, 25% on the second and 50% on the third, with other casinos also offering variations of that. That way, both the casino and the player feel like they have gained something extra. Look for similar perks that you could offer your customers within your business sector. These could include loyalty schemes or offering your services for free once they make a small financial commitment so that they can try your brand out.

First Go Large – Then Go Big

The online video streaming market has emerged as one of the most competitive industries right now. After Netflix became such a hit, giants like Amazon, Apple, and Disney all want a larger slice of the up-and-coming market. But a SME can learn a valuable lesson from the company that started it all. What Netflix so insightfully did was lower prices in order to attract a wider pool of clients, also offering a range of options between accounts and allowing users to share the costs. It did so in large part by also relying on movie and series libraries of other providers. This allowed it to grow and get its initial capital back and multiplied so now it can produce its own original shows and expand its appeal.

Do it like Netflix: get your prices low at first so that you can get exposure across a wider audience. Also, identify with third parties that you can outsource some of your activity to initially so that you can mitigate costs. Then, expand: customers who have come to love your brand will gladly pay a bit more for enjoying your extended services!

Realising what your strong suits as a SME are can help you to draw inspiration from highly competitive sectors in order to fully take advantage of them. Who said that small businesses can’t go big?

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