We are living in an unprecedented time in the history of innovations. What used to take companies decades to achieve is now being done in a few years. Companies like Google and Facebook have come from nowhere to become multi-billion dollar behemoths in no time. Five years from now there will be other massively huge companies out there, that you haven’t even heard of today.
Maybe you have the next billion dollar idea in you, but you don’t know it. Or maybe you do know it, but are scared away by competitors with billions of dollars in their pockets. How are you supposed to compete with them? The trick is to think big, but act small!
What kinds of advantages does being small give you? Take a look at the website of your favorite tech company. How easy is it to contact them? Send them an email and see how long it takes to get a reply. As we speak, I am currently trying to negotiate a refund from a company for a product I canceled two months ago. Very poor service indeed. Most users of my products who email me are surprised at the speed at which I reply to them, as well as how fast I can process their requests. That’s the advantage of acting small!
Any time Facebook makes changes to their site, there are massive protests from their user base. Several times they have had to remove changes they have made in order to placate their users. This is what happens when you’re big. It becomes much harder to adapt and change to the marketplace. Look at companies like Nokia, RIM and Microsoft, that had to make huge changes to their smartphone business when Apple and Google came out with their new models. They weren’t able to make the changes in time, and as a result have lost huge market share to newcomers to the industry.
When I started my first site, I began scouring the forums of my biggest competitor to see what gripes their user base had with them. I then designed my site to address those issues and win over that base.
The next time you are trying to compete, see if you can take one of your competitor’s strengths and use it against them.