Small Business Domination

This past Saturday was “Small Business Saturday,” which is sponsored/created by American Express; and it made me think (which is always a dangerous thing) … when was the last time I got a call from American Express just to see how I was doing or to ask about my kids? Answer: N-E-V-E-R

I have been an AmEx cardmember for over 25 years, yet no love. Plenty of solicitations to sell me more stuff, yet no love. In contrast, this is a MASSIVE opportunity for small businesses and small business-minded large businesses, to differentiate themselves in a noisy, rapid world, and to dominate their market.

Since large companies are very, very, very poor at building a personal, 1-2-1 relationship with their clients, you can and should dominate them on a local level in any business. The only competitive advantage of most large companies is price (unless they think and act more like a small company) and it is almost impossible to out Wal Mart, Wal Mart. The competitive advantage of all small businesses is to build a genuine, personal, 1-2-1 relationship with their clients – and to move on serving their clients quickly. A phrase from Will Turner (http://www.refuseordinary.com/), a friend and colleague, that I love is “Urgency is Currency.”

The challenge and killer for most small businesses is EXECUTION. I have had several personal instances in the last few months where I did business (or attempted to do business) with small, local businesses, and their service was atrocious. The same folks who tell me how bad the economy is … people aren’t spending money … it’s everyone else’s fault … need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and see how they treat those who pay their bills. If your technician comes to work on my house four hours past the four hour window they were supposed to be at my house and I am not there to meet them – don’t blame your lack of success on anyone but yourself … when I have to call you a half-dozen times to check on the status of a project you committed to deliver several months ago – don’t blame your lack of success on anyone but yourself.

In contrast, I have had several instances in the past few months where small, local businesses have exceeded my expectations. When 89-Paint (http://www.89paint.com/) did some work on my house and emailed/texted/called me with daily updates as to my project’s status/progress – that is building a genuine, personal, 1-2-1 relationship with their clients. When J Walls Ink! (http://jwallsink.com/) consistently delivers my printing projects before they are due, on-budget, and on-point – that is building a genuine, personal, 1-2-1 relationship with their clients. When Hawks Renovations (http://www.hawksrenovations.com/) does work on my house (darn, my house needs a lot of work) and they it looks better than when it was new and the work area is cleaner than when they started – that is building a genuine, personal, 1-2-1 relationship with their clients. I have many more stories like these as I’m sure you do {insert one here}.

The key is that every day is “Small Business Saturday” and your company can dominate it’s market when you learn to think and more importantly, ACT, like a small business obsessed with building a genuine, personal, 1-2-1 relationship with their clients. While I appreciate AmEx supporting the idea of small business success, don’t emulate American Express, be the business who calls your clients not to sell them more stuff, you call them to see how they are doing … how their son is doing in middle school … and how you can help them. This is the path to small business domination.

About Mark Deutsch

Small Business Sales & Marketing Expert | Best Selling Author | Speaker | Trainer | Disruptive Idea Creator
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One Response to Small Business Domination

  1. Liz Morley says:

    Re: “darn, my house needs a lot of work”

    This is the effect of top-notch contracting. Get a new roof, have it done exceptionally well, and suddenly see that everything beneath it looks like Snuffy Smith’s cabin in the backwoods.

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