David vs Goliath: How Being Small is a Competitive Advantage

In business, today there’s the potential to scale from David to Goliath and earn billions of dollars in years as opposed to decades. Companies that retain the spirit of David and are able to attract the resources of Goliath are becoming billion-dollar private companies. To move from start-up to up-start you need to think creatively about how you allocate resources because entrenched competitors can outspend you.

When faced with a choice between David and Goliath, most people would choose David. Why? It’s exciting to face big challenges. Relating this story to modern times, how can you, a small business owner, compete with a corporate giant? Like David, you must be able to do more with less through flexibility and agility. The following examples show you how to sharpen your aim and leverage your slingshot.

Specialize: A jack of all trades is a master of none. If you become an expert in a particular field, then you’re catering to a niche market which allows for a competitive advantage.

Understand your target market:  Take the time to know your core customers down to the very last detail, and make exceptional customer service a priority.

Define your points of difference: Compare your company to your competitors and find the areas that surpass their strengths and weaknesses so you can co-exist but you’re on an exceptional plane.

Build relationships with your merchants/prospects: Consider them a high priority and long-term customer, a person and not a dollar sign. Your larger competitors lose sight of them in this regard, but if your customer service is personal, it will set you apart. Communication often times gets lost in the chain of command, and merchants don’t always have access to decision makers. It’s best to visit local retailers, and if you can’t meet in person, call them.

Innovate:  One disadvantage of a big company when it comes to testing new ideas is that they’re weighed down by bureaucracy. As a smaller company, you have the flexibility to do product offerings, delivery models, and marketing campaigns quickly and easily. Simply rely on data to have an in-depth view of your path to innovation.

Small Merchants are Powerful, Too

Often times, a small business may feel discouraged when they’re on a street corner with five mass retail chains surrounding their block. Consider a local coffee shop amidst several Coffee Beans and Starbucks. What makes them special is their repeat customer base whom they know on a first name basis. They also support the community by sourcing their product from local businesses. Their business model revolves around giving back. How’s that for a differentiator?

Outrun the Big Dogs

Our industry is saturated with small companies that have shaken big corporations. I once worked for one without a marketing department, and they offered a value-added service for cash advances.

There was a billion-dollar printing company stealing our agents. I was in sales, but saw opportunity to win back our clients. My company gave me a shot to create a new marketing strategy. We switched gears by adding 5 more cash advance offerings and 20 additional vendors to our portfolio of value-added solutions. We created a new logo with vibrant colors on tradeshows shirts and business cards to create a one-stop branding platform. We won back our clients and also grabbed a chunk of the market share.

Believe in Yourself

When David faced Goliath, he wasn’t focused on comparing his size to the giant. Instead he brought his laser sharp focus and aim. The story teaches us to not worry about what others are doing and to focus on what you can do. Remember that small size can be a big asset, especially when your entrepreneurial spirit is focused on creating personalized experiences with your customers. That will always set you apart from your competition and get you ahead.

Mike Ackerman is President of DigiPay Solutions Inc., which specializes in high-risk, high-volume, card-not-present and business-to-business merchant services. Contact him at mike@digipaysolutions.com.