Wednesday, December 26, 2018

How can a small business compete with a much larger one?

In short, be nimble and faster.
As a small business you have something the big co’s don’t have - Nothing to Lose. This makes you dangerous.
The bigger a company gets the more it has to lose and the more their decision making is based on protecting what they have and less about capturing new ground. Often, these companies lose track of what is even happening in the larger environment because they build their sales processes, operational control functions, marketing approaches, etc around keeping others from taking what they have and completely lose track of or unable to go after other opportunities.
But this isn’t your problem. You can be focused and try things the others would never be able to try.
One of my favorite examples of this is the early days of AirBNB. As a two-sided marketplace they needed supply of great homes / apartments to rent. They got so desperate to build their supply that they literally walked around NYC knocking on doors with a professional photographer to enlist people to rent some part of their home to complete strangers. And it worked. Before long they were growing fast, reached $1B in market valuation (unicorn status) and in just a few short years had passed Marriott in market valuation.
This fearless nature allowed them to try things they never could have done on their own and it paid off handsomely.
You can read more about how to fully capture this spirit in my book Corporate Bravery

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