Skip to main content

How can small business beat big business at their own game

If you own a small business and you are selling the same products that the big guys are selling you are sort of stuffed. There is just no way you will get the number of customers or bottom line they do by competing directly with them. Even if they could sell at cost, they still have a rebate of at least 2.5 - 5.0% with which they can play with.

So where lies the secret or better still, the money?

Each business sector has it's own strategy, but I will make a few generalizations just to get you going.

The first thing you need to believe is that the big boys can be challenged. They are too busy with their own politics and corporate bullshit to even notice you. So don't be scared. I mean really, can you hurt Massmart. They don't think so.

Secondly, you must target big corporation's weak points. I will discuss three and how to beat them.

Bottom line

The sales personnel are more concerned over turnover than bottom line. So the sales person on the floor has a certain target and that is turnover, they don't know what the margins are (they might but that is not the true profit margin). At management level, yes, they are concerned about bottom line but they are not dealing with customers. They are managing the crap and admin within the company and the shareholders. If you have a small company never focus on turnover.

I keep track of all our sales and the only thing I have on a chart is bottom line and % gross profit (GP). I don't give a damn about turnover. So your target is %GP/invoice. Look at the effort per invoice and the profits made. It does not help getting a $10,000 sale and you have to spend all your time ordering, checking and shipping with a 10% GP while you could have done 5 sales at $1,000 each but with 40% GP and less effort per invoice.  It is often the big deals that take so much time up due to admin, email correspondence, returns etc. that it just does not make sense. Time is money, your time is expensive, don't discount it. A salesperson working for a big company is cheap labour, so they can keep them busy with low GP sales.


That is a killer.  Big companies are there for convenience and they carry stock. You should never keep any stock. The only time you can keep stock is if you can get better margins from your supplier. In that case, find out what the minimum amount is you must have, and if it is worth it, keep some.  Build a good relationship with your rep, you'll be surprised at their power and influence. For instance, if you are selling stationary and your supplier requires you to carry some pencils, pens and paper as stock, do it. It's cheap, only if you can get an extra 5-10 % discount.  You can easily get that back in sales within the year, after that you have that extra profit margin which is yours.

The internet

One of the biggest sectors you can beat any business, even your smaller competitors. Big companies hire people that no nothing about their business to build complex websites. These programmers can program, but cannot create the content that is required for search engines to understand. You on the other hand can setup Wordpress site in no time and create the content that you know your market segment will search for. In the beginning Adwords will work, but it gets rather expensive and you do not have the funds the big guys have to spend.  Create good content that Google loves, your products will be on the first page and that is ideal.  Once you are on the first page in Google searches, you can stop running Adwords. People tend to click on the items below the ads first because they perceive them as more credible. I have never seen a big company write blogs about their products, they just don't think about it or the programmers are too expensive to do it. You can and should.

These are three basic areas where small business can beat big business at their own game and not even get recognized or threatened. We have been doing it for years and have outlasted 6 national franchises in our area.

You can do it, just think smart.


Popular posts from this blog

Merrell hiking shoes showing cracks in quality

I have been a supporter of Merrell shoes for quite a long time, actually about 10 years. Their comfort was amazing as well as build quality. My first pair was hiking boots and I wore them until they fell apart, I must admit that the sole wore through before the top started coming apart.  I then bought hiking or trail shoes. I think the style was Merrell Vibram, not sure but that was written on the side of the hiking shoe.  Anyway, who cares, I don't hike or go on trails.  They are mainly used in and around at home. I also don't do any gardening with them by the way.

So all in all I don't have a lot of wear and tear as can be seen on the amount of rubber left on the new pair of Merrell Hiking shoes.

What really disturbed me is how badly the new Merrell Hiking shoes are put together. Put it this way, my old Merrell's had 5 years of walking on them, and there is not much wrong with them other than the backend plastic started to crack. Also my laces are worn out which can…

Dell XPS 13 - 2018 model technical options and cusomization

Processor 8th Generation Intel® Quad Core™ i5-8250U processor (6MB cache, up to 3.4GHz)8th Generation Intel® Quad Core™ i7-8550U processor (8MB cache, up to 4.0GHz)8th Generation Intel® Quad Core™ i5-8350U processor (6MB cache, up to 3.6GHz, vPro)8th Generation Intel® Quad Core™ i7-8650U processor (8MB cache, up to 4.2GHz, vPro) Operating System ​ (Dell recommends Windows 10 Pro.) Windows 10 Home 64-bitWindows 10 Pro 64-bitUbuntu 16.04 (fingerprint reader, Waves MaxxAudio and Cortana not supported) Memory9 4GB-8GB Dual Channel LPDDR3 SDRAM at 1866MHz,16GB Dual Channel LPDDR3 SDRAM at 2133MHz (On Board) Hard Drive 128GB SATA, 256GB PCIe, 512GB PCIe, 1TB PCIe SSD with Intel® RST Video Card Intel® UHD Graphics 620 Display 13.3-inch UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) InfinityEdge touch display, 100% sRGB 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge touch display, 100% sRGB13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge display, 100% sRGB 400-nits, 1500:1 contrast ratio, anti-reflective, 178° wide viewin…

Eskom is ruining the South African Economy and the ANC is letting it do it.

Eskom through its incompetence and greed is slowly ruining the South African economy. It is amazing that one big corporation can have such a significant effect.

How is it possible that people in ESKOM see how the company is going down the drain but they do nothing about it. Instead the only focus is to double their salaries. Maybe that is a way of repaying their incompetence.

Does the ANC not understand that killing the goose that lays the golden egg will not provide more golden eggs. I heard a comment once about the brain drain in ESKOM and it has been replaced with dung. Very fitting if you see the graphic down below as found on MyBroadband. You can read the full article here.

The excuse that there is a coal shortage is absolutely nonsense. There are at least 170 coal mines delivering coal every day and coal is heaping up at the ESKOM power plants. The problem is that ESKOM is not buying any coal at the moment. We wonder why. Could it be that they are ZAR400 Billion in debt already…