Can small businesses compete with Goliaths?

Every business has their Goliaths

Almost every small business faces a Goliath. Sometimes the company is founded to take on a Goliath, sometimes the Goliath comes later. 

- David Kalt

Devin Miller IP attorney for small businesses

Devin Miller (IP Attorney)

Electrical Engineer


Small business owner

Slinging takes an extraordinary amount of skill and practice. But in experienced hands, the sling is a devastating weapon. Skilled slingers can hit birds in mid-flight or a coin from as far away as they could see it. An experienced slinger could kill or seriously injure a target at a distance of up to two hundred yards. As David ran toward Goliath in one of the most epic Bible battles, he moved with speed and maneuverability, not weighted down by heavy armor. He puts a rock into his sling and whips it around and around, faster and faster at six or seven revolutions per second, aiming his projectile at Goliath’s forehead— the giant’s only point of vulnerability.

David and Goliath slingshot

In contrast, Goliath had a serious medical condition, acromegaly— a disease caused by a benign tumor of the pituitary gland. The tumor causes an overproduction of human growth hormone that caused Goliath’s extraordinary size. The common side effects of acromegaly include restricted sight and double vision. As David ran toward Goliath, powered by courage and faith, and Goliath nearly blind and weighted down by heavy armor, Goliath was unaware that it was he that was the underdog. (Gladwell, Malcolm. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants).

In business, at first glance, we see our circumstances and environment our causes for being the underdog in our story of life. We are not born into money. We are not as smart as everyone else. So how do you compete against a business that is bigger and stronger than you?

Conquering Goliath

In business, at first glance, we see our circumstances and environment our causes for being the underdog in our story of life. We are not born into money. We are not as smart as everyone else. So how do you compete against a business that is bigger and stronger than you? Here are the 4 best ways to conquer the Goliaths.

Small businesses versus large businesses
Niche products for start-ups

Find your Niche

Small businesses need to go hyper-focused down to the barest minimum then expand from there as they grow.

To compete and beat bigger rivals, focus on you basic consumers. Basic consumers can range from college students to a particular demographic. 

Recognizing and marketing to your basic consumers provides quick sales and more revenue to grow a following.

Red Bull is a perfect example of finding a niche. Dietrich Mateschitz, co-founder of Red Bull, started with no specific market in mind and sales were slow. Consumers did not know if Red Bull was a sports drink or a soft drink. Mateschitz refocused on a college-student niche and marketed to them relentlessly. He sponsored events, threw campaigns, and held social media challenges. By targeting a niche, Red Bull was able to build a following and explode in growth.

Pick your angle

You’re in business to solve a problem for consumers. Winning customers over is about effective storytelling. Your competitive angle is your story, so start telling it. Tell how you started your business and how you are different. Better product? Better customer service? Smart than everyone else? Let your customers know. Apple used innovation as a competitive angle. IKEA provides superior furniture at affordable rates. They tell their stories, now you tell yours.

Pick your business angle.
Be the front of the pack for your business.

Front of the pack products and services

Since the year 2000, the average attention span of customers has dropped to 8 seconds. You have less than 8 seconds to convince a customer about your products. 

Your website should grab customers' attention and quickly explain your products or business. Your products should be designed for your customers and should deliver experience which is entirely new and different from your competitors.

Unmatchable customer service

A huge advantage of being a small business your interaction with customers. There are no bottlenecks and bureaucracy. Deliver better experiences and exceed customer expectations.

Have the best customer service as a start-up.

Respond to emails quickly, send handwritten “thank you” notes, and solve complaints better than anyone else. Amazing customer experiences yield more customers through word of mouth marketing, online reviews, and social media channels.

So go conquer your Goliaths and become the leader in your niche. There is plenty of room to compete and win if you know how.

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