Competing with the Big Boys

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On September 13, 2011

What happens when you find your small or mid-sized business running up against a much larger competitor? Do you just take your ball and go home? Or do you look for a way to compete?

Let’s be honest. Sometimes, size really does matter. There may be occasions when the resources you have at your disposal make it impossible to compete with a larger company. That’s simply a reality of business. It’s not smart business to take on a responsibility you have no chance of fulfilling.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t times you can’t compete. Just because another company is bigger doesn’t mean they’re better. But you may have to convince your client that this is true.

Instead of focusing on size, help your client to focus on your unique selling proposition. What are the things that you bring to the table that your competitor can’t match? But before you can expect your prospective client to grasp your uniqueness (and how that will benefit him), you need to be clear on that yourself. Can you explain your unique value proposition in 15 to 30 seconds? Or do you need a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation to get your point across?

If you can’t communicate what makes you unique and valuable in 30 seconds, it probably means you don’t have a firm grasp on that yourself. Try writing out your value proposition this week—and see if you can get it down to that length. Then try it out on someone to see if they get it.

Use your size to your advantage. Sometimes the fact that you’re smaller allows you to be more flexible and creative than a larger company. It may be easier for you to circumvent some unnecessary red tape. Perhaps your internal approval process will allow you to respond more quickly. And in today’s economy—more than ever—time is money.

I’d love to hear from some of the smaller and mid-sized companies out there. What makes you more competitive when you go up against the “big boys”?

P.S. Want to learn how more than 20,000 successful executives have made their companies more successful? Check out the Mastering the Rockefeller Habits Workshop coming September 20, 2011.