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It can be challenging for businesses to stand out among the competition, especially when the competitors are multi-million-dollar corporations. 

A Public Affairs Pulse survey polling What Americans Think About Business showed that 69 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of large businesses, but far greater than that was the rating is given to small businesses: 92 percent.

This is good news for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), but they still face hardships nonetheless.

See below for tips to stand out among even your biggest competitors.

1. Deliver top-notch customer service.

As public campaigns to “shop small” ring in the ears of many consumers, a big draw for customers supporting a small business is exactly that -- they’re supporting a small business. 

In this setting, customers expect the attention and care that they would not receive from large corporations. Small businesses must go above and beyond in their customer service, then, to not only meet but exceed expectations.

It has become simple for customers to share their experience with your business through reviewing platforms like Yelp and Google Reviews.

If you take the time to care for each customer to ensure their satisfaction, many times they will be compelled to post regarding the excellent service they received.

This is good news for your business, as reviews can be a determining factor for whether a potential customer chooses your business.

On the opposing side, however, if a customer is displeased with your product or service, it can negatively impact your business as it is posted online.

2. Focus on building your business’s reputation.

In addition to providing good customer service, small businesses can stand out by developing a good reputation, and this too comes from customer interaction (and therefore, good customer service).

SMBs can make a good impression on their customers by welcoming feedback, incentivizing reviews, and responding to address a situation when expectations were not met.

If customers make a recommendation for how a product, service, or process can be improved and its implementation is feasible, businesses should consider putting it into place.

Customers will then see your business as one that hears them and genuinely values their opinion (not to mention, also help your business).

The benefit that small businesses have over corporations is that changes can be implemented quickly without needing to get approval from a board or shareholders who influence all company decisions.

This can make customers feel more comfortable with the business (and therefore more likely to return).

3. Outsource everything that you can (and automate when possible).

A small business owner’s time is very valuable, meaning it will prove challenging to try to do every single thing independently.

Technology benefits companies by automating many of the core business processes, so it becomes one less thing for business owners to concern themselves with.

Software as a service (SaaS) has grown in popularity as businesses find the need to automate more services for efficiency.

SaaS like Quickbooks, for example, has made it easy for SMBs to automate their accounting and devote their time towards what is more important: taking care of their customers.

4. Differentiate yourself from your competition.

Small businesses can capitalize on differentiating themselves to stand out from the competition.

Customers recognize this differentiation most visibly in the products and services available, and this can include the features, efficacy, training, installation, and other criteria depending on the business.

While large businesses have the resources to excel in various areas, as a small business, it is best to focus on one skill, excelling in that, and making it known to your customers.

For example, a step that small businesses can take to differentiate themselves is offering a variety of payment options to their customers.

Credit card payment processing is expected, but SMBs can further differentiate themselves by offering diverse payment options such as digital wallets (Apple Pay, Samsung Pay), bank transfers (ACH payment), and recurring payments.

SMBs with alternative payment options including ACH and recurring payments are also able to provide their products and services to a larger customer base, including customers who are unable to pay in full at the time of service.

But just because a person does not qualify for traditional payment plans does not mean that they are bad for your business. Denefits can take the risk for you by payment plans your customers directly so that you can earn more revenue by accepting more customers.

While large businesses have more expendable resources, small businesses have more pressure to convert potential customers into sales. Being able to offer different payment options will present greater opportunities for small businesses to provide their products and services.

Customized payment options like Denefits can enable small businesses to serve customers regardless of credit history. Satisfied customers will then be able to share their satisfactory experience by word of mouth, which can significantly grow your business.

A Final Note

The standard you use to determine whether your business “stands out” among the competitors is relative to each person and business. What may seem like a shortcoming can be beneficial for your business. SMBs do not have to accept defeat as being smaller than the larger companies, but rather explore other resources to make your business one that customers desire to return to.