Don’t Charge at Elephants
In every sector there are 2 or 3 big guys, the elephants. Everyone knows them. They have marketing power. They have buying power. And yet, elephants are afraid of mice.
But don’t try to beat an elephant by playing an elephant’s game. You can’t beat them on price. You can’t out-advertise them. You can’t offer the same range. Your distribution network will never be as extensive.
So how can you be like the mouse? The mouse scares the elephant because the elephant feels something happening between its feet, and it can’t see it or stop it. What causes the business elephant to be most afraid is the personal service and customer relationships the small business mouse can provide.
Ever call a bank to fix a problem, and every time you call you get a different person, and even though they have recorded your information, they insist on going over the problem again, because they don’t know you and want to steer you into pre-packaged solutions because they have no authority to vary them. What is the first thing they always ask you to do? Prove you are who you say you are. Makes you really feel important, doesn’t it?
For big business, the personal relationships with their thousands of customers can never compare with the relationship you can have with your customers. Even when these relationships do occur, in big business, it is with the individual, not the company, so when they move, or leave, the relationship is broken. Which is why they don’t encourage it. They want the relationship to be with the brand, not their staff. Wherever they can this means automation and human contact is made almost impossible.
They also steer clear of customisation. While they may have a great range of products, they’re basically selling boxes off a shelf.
While all this is well known, many small businesses still act like big businesses and don’t form the personal relationships and spend time to see how better they can cater to their needs and anticipate them. They’re too busy behaving like elephants. Although it costs time to form these relationships, they generate loyalty and allow premium pricing.
Be accessible. Be willing to experiment more and offer more flexibility. Elephants move slowly.
When a mouse charges an elephant, there is only one winner, which is why, to stay alive, they must run rings around them.
May Your Business Be – As You Plan It.
Dr Greg Chapman – The Profit Whisperer
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