If you’re a small business owner and are having trouble competing with big chain establishments in your area, you are not alone. Many of our clients are independent business owners who struggle with this battle on a daily basis. The article below has quite an interesting spin on how to differentiate yourself from the pack. Rather then competing for customers based on price, try showcasing local products that your competitors don’t offer. By purchasing products from local manufactures rather than shopping at large supply chains – your business’s products become unique. Drawing in a targeted and loyal clientele. Clients often apply for Merchant Advances to make upgrades or renos to revamp their business. However maybe a Merchant Advance would be useful to change up suppliers and refresh your business’s image and make it unique to your marketplace.
Costco muffins? Mom-and-pops can do better
If you’ve been trying to keep shoppers loyal to your small business and out of the big chain stores, you’re not alone. Small retailers have been trying to harness the “shop local” movement to hang onto their customers.
But here’s a question for every business owner out promoting the advantages of dealing with local merchants: Do you walk that talk?
As I listen to the endless drumbeat of objections to how the big companies operate – most recently, the flap over Amazon’s price-checking app over the holidays – I wonder how many small-business owners apply their shop-local philosophy to themselves.
Behind the curtain at your store or home business, where do you shop?
Do you use an independent shipping firm to truck your goods? Buy your office supplies from a small independent, or maybe at Staples?
Are you featuring products from small, local manufacturers, or do you buy in bulk from giant corporations?
In my town, I’ve watched as store after store tried purchasing items in bulk from Costco Wholesale Corp. or other big chains and then reselling them. Inevitably, they go bust. Why? Besides being more expensive, you’re not differentiated enough. You’re selling the same old stuff. You can bust out of that rut and stock products that are less easily price-compared by investigating local suppliers instead.
One way local businesses can start some real buzz is to buy local themselves, and to feature how they buy local in their marketing. Several restaurants I patronize do a great job of this, with menus describing the locally raised beef and produce they’re using in their dishes, down to what farm it’s from.
That’s a powerful way to attract shop-local-oriented consumers and give them a more compelling reason to visit you. It also lets small businesses support each other directly, and can help build new relationships for marketing.