There’s a long-standing David vs. Goliath struggle that exists between small, independent businesses and large regional, national, and multi-national chains, and stories of big chains bullying out small mom-and-pop coffee shops, clothing stores and restaurants are easy to find throughout the country.
Despite what can seem like an uphill battle for small businesses who compete against big chains, SMB’s continue to be a major economic player in America. According to Fortune.com, small businesses “accounted for 42 percent of US private sector payroll in 2012 and 63 percent of new jobs”, and an article in Oxford Academic confirms that consumers are unhappy when large corporate retailers force small businesses out of their communities.
And while it’s true that most SMB simply can’t compete with the cut-rate pricing offered by big chains, savvy small business owners understand that consumers are willing to pay more for the things large corporations simply can’t offer – personal service, flexibility, and innovation.
SMB’s have long been at the leading edge of trends and innovations, which gives them a distinct competitive advantage they can use to carve out a niche customer base – even in markets that are flooded with big chains. When that innovation is backed by solid customer service and a personal connection (another thing that big chains have always struggled with) then it’s possible for SMB’s to thrive.
In terms of restaurants and cafes that want to compete against big chains, the ‘local’ food movement has provided food service companies a great opportunity to achieve market share from the big chains which simply don’t have the flexibility needed to support small farmers and producers.
Regardless of the industry, SMB’s can also compete against big chains through community engagement – supporting local charities, sponsoring sports clubs, and most importantly, engaging customers and prospects through social media.