Thriving in the Shadows of Big Business: Smart Strategies for SME Success

When you’re a small company, your best customers are sometimes large brands. Large companies have deep pockets and the ability to place huge, ongoing, orders. Here’s how to attract their business and keep them happy.

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Have a Crystal Clear Value Proposition

You’ll never get business deals with large companies if you don’t have a firm and crystal clear value proposition. Most companies don’t know how to formulate one, so here’s how to do it. First, think of an action statement that separates you from everyone else in the marketplace. Then, write that out and use it as your value proposition.

So, for example, if you offered dry cleaning services, you might say something like, “We clean suits for CEOs who need to look immaculate.” It’s hard to set yourself apart from the competition when you’re in dry cleaning, but this is a good start.

Differentiate Yourself From The Competition

When 4Patriots LLC partner Allen Baler started his company, he had a monumental task in front of him. He had to differentiate himself in the patriot/survivalist niche. That’s a tight-knit group, and there’s not a lot of competition but the competition that’s there is fierce.

People tend to be loyal to a particular brand, and it’s hard to nudge your way in there. But, Baler did it. How? He offered something no one else did: organic and shelf-stable emergency foods. While more companies were busy selling no-frills Army MREs, Baler went to work figuring out how to put together real meals that people would actually want to eat and that would be nutritious.

You see, in the survivalist niche, it’s pretty much common knowledge that “survivalist food” isn’t very tasty. It’s not all that nutritious either. But, it has calories, and it will keep you alive in the short-term. And, that’s part of the attraction to it. But, let’s be real. No one is going to turn away a healthy meal if it’s available. And, this is where Baler’s ideas succeeded.

Can you do the same in your industry? You have to, or you won’t survive.

Understand The Buying Cycle

Large companies tend to have longer buying cycles. Now, that’s not always true, but it tends to be true. If you have an expensive product or service, it might be 5 to 10 months before your next sale. And, each sale is sorely needed by your company.

So, you can solve this problem by having multiple leads in the pipeline, dripping on them with information and updates about your products and services.

You can also prepare whitepapers that are informative and relevant to the prospect. Keep prospects on a mailing list, both snail mail and email, and always respect your prospect’s time by being short and to the point when you do contact them.

Get Endorsements

It’s helpful if others endorse you, especially when your new. And, that’s the trick, isn’t it? How do you get experience when you have none? Well, try doing business with other small businesses and medium-sized companies. Get endorsements from them, and work your way up the ladder.

Large companies don’t always know the size of a company, and they don’t always care. If you have other customers that came before you, it’s a good sign to them. Large companies aren’t risk-takers. Small companies are. Large firms go with what’s “safe,” and what’s safe is a company with a track record.

If you can establish one, or appear to have one, before you go after the ‘big boys’ in your industry, you’ll have much more success.

Know How To Market To Large Firms

Large corporations have lots of gatekeepers to keep people like you out. If they didn’t, they’d be inundated with sales calls from SMEs and that’s not what they want. That’s actually good for you, because if you have something worth buying, you won’t have much competition. Most SMEs try busting through the front door, so to speak. You need to enter through the back.

How do you do that? You send out press releases and private letters using a private courier. Is it expensive? Yes. But, large corporations are usually large accounts worth thousands, if not millions, of dollars. So, spend the $50 or $100 it costs to get a private courier to deliver a message to the CFO or COO.

Press releases are valuable because they can be sent to journalists who can act as an endorsement for you if they interview you and publish something favorable about your company.

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