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How can Micro and Small Enterprises compete with Big Businesses?

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Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE) are usually overwhelmed by Big businesses and Large enterprises with financial and human resources. As an MSE entrepreneur planning to enter a new business in the Philippines, you might want to think about how to compete with these big and large companies. 

MSEs or Micro, Small Enterprises are the major industry drivers of the Philippine economy. In 2020 the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) released a statistical brief on the business establishments in the Philippines. Of the total 957,620 business establishments, 88.77% are Micro, 10.25% are small, and Both Medium and Large businesses are .49%. 

So if you are planning to start a Micro or Small business, here are some tips for you to compete with the Big and Large companies in the Philippines. 

1. Conquer and Own your niche 

a. Before you start your own business, it is pivotal to identify your market niche and your target market which serves your products and services. The majority of the Micro and Small Enterprises in the Philippines are in the Retail / Wholesale, Accommodation, and Food Service industries. It will depend on you to differentiate yourself from your competitors. 

b. For you to compete with big businesses, having a unique value proposition that these companies don’t offer gives you the edge. Big Businesses are slow to react before deciding due to bureaucracy and the multiple levels of approval. Micro and Small Businesses are more flexible and fast and can adapt to the customer’s wants and needs in no time. 

c. Big businesses cannot cater to all customers because they only focus on the majority of the market they are serving. This inherent limitation is an advantage to Micro/Small businesses. For example, I have tried eating Dinuguan (A Filipino traditional blood stew) in one of the Big known restaurant companies in the Philippines. The food was great, but it can never compare to the unique dinuguan experience of a small sari-sari (Shanty) store where I used to stay during my College Years. And until now, this sari-sari store is still serving their unique and delicious Dinuguan after almost twenty (20) years. 

2. Deliver Excellent Customer Service 

a. Most micro and small businesses are managed by the owners and act as employees at the same time. They know how their company operates and how to operate it. They also know their customers well enough to call them personal customers. That’s where customer service comes in. The owners sometimes go the extra mile so they can satisfy them. 

b. Unlike Big and Large businesses, they follow strict procedures and protocols that sometimes hurt or affect customer service badly. In the Philippines, the Large TELCO and Internet Service Providers (ISP) provide appalling customer service.

3. Go Digital Marketing 

a. Having a digital footprint on the web and in the cloud is essential to businesses in this modern information era. Facebook Marketing, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, and other social media marketing and strategies can surely help small businesses at a very low or zero cost. 

b. Most customers need to see your presence or brand’s name on the internet seven times before they think about doing business with you. So the more you advertise your business on the net, the higher the chances you will get that customer. 

c. Big and large companies usually choose the relatively expensive traditional marketing approach of billboards, radio stations, and televisions. It is also tough to measure the actual output of the standard marketing approach. 

d. Digital Marketing is more affordable, customizable, and measurable, making it easy for you to target your market niche and hit your budgets. 

e. You can also hire digital marketing experts who can help you promote your website or social media marketing. These experts know how to boost and improve your ranking in google search and increase traffic to your websites. 

f. Big and large companies hire marketing companies with marketing professionals that charge millions of pesos for their campaigns. As a micro and small business, going digital will help compete with these Big-budget companies. 

4. Go Mobile 

a. Mobility in managing your business provides a potential advantage over big and large enterprises. As a Micro and Small business owner, this mobility provides you with enough flexibility to make immediate business decisions and actions. With this, grabbing opportunities ahead of the competitors in the market will be effortless. 

b. Viewing real-time Sales or Inventory trends enables you to act quickly and adapt to the ever-changing and challenging market environment. 

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c. You can try as many approaches as you need and if such an approach fails, move on to the next. Fail Fast and Succeed. 

d. Big/Large Companies cannot fail because it would be very costly for them to fail. They have to make a lot of planning and it takes a lot of time and effort. 

5. Get Personalized 

a. The difference between Micro/Small Businesses and Big/Large Companies is personalization. When you run a small business, you as the owner are hands-on about almost everything in it. Connecting to your customers by getting to know them is easy, which would help you build a personal relationship with them. Sometimes you know their birthdays, their family members, their background, where their kids go to school, etc., and you get to talk to them in a personal way. Big companies do not have these because of the enormity of their businesses. They do not know their customers personally and more profoundly.

b. By knowing your customers personally, you have the advantage of creating loyal ones. Giving perks such as birthday promos, discounts, and providing community service to those affected by seasonal tragedies like typhoons and floods, are among many other strategies you can do. 

c. Micro/Small businesses can also provide loyalty schemes that will fit the customer’s needs since they are familiar with the local community they are serving. 

6. Use cloud computing strategy 

a. Big and large companies have high-budget software, equipment, and infrastructure, which enable them to manage their operations efficiently and quickly. On-premise servers and dedicated computers, which have many advantages, are used by traditional big companies to maintain their operations. However, these complex tools are costly for micro and small businesses. 

b. Now, with the advent of high-speed internet and cloud computing, the playing field is leveled to the point where Micro and Small businesses can also take advantage of real-time and online reporting tools. These businesses can already compete with the Big and Large companies. 

c. WFH (Work-from-Home) setup, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), makes Micro/Small businesses competitive enough to be equally productive as the Big Businesses. 

d. Software-as-a-Service (SAAS) allows Micro/Small Businesses to use technology at minimum or zero cost to start the business running immediately.

e. At zero cost, Human Incubator Inc.’s (HII) EasySeries products provide online sales, inventory, and accounting software for your startup business. EasyFIS provides for the back-office control center recording while EasyPOS provides the front-end government (BIR) compliance for Micro and Small Enterprises.

f. Human Incubator Inc.’s (HII) long-term strategy is to help Micro and Small businesses grow and compete with the Big and Large companies in the Philippines by taking advantage of the Internet and Cloud computing. 

In summary, there are many ways that you, as a Micro/Small business owner, can do to compete and outmatch big and large businesses.

Micro/Small Big/Large
Market Niche Establish Unique Brand and TasteTargets the Majority
Customer Service Excellent Customer Service Slow due to many Levels of Support
Marketing Digital Media / Social Less ExpensiveTraditional Marketing / Print Ads / Television More Expensive
Mobility / Flexibility Fast Make Business DecisionSlow Mobility and Flexibility
Personalized Connecting deeply with CustomersBusiness Level Connection

Infrastructure Cloud Approach Zero Cost or per Usage 

On-premise, Fixed Overhead

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