Those who know me are well aware that I’m always quoting #1. Personal Branding When I started SEtalks.com the biggest fear was: How am I going to rank for keywords like “SEO Consulting” or “Link Building” (especially since the 1st page of Google SERPs are filled with Wikipedia and other authority websites)? I felt like I had no chance of making it and even after three years I’m not too close to the 1st page for key terms. How am I surviving? It’s easy, instead of trying out all those white and grey hat tactics, I only focused on finding an edge to get customers. It started with Guest Blogging (three years ago) and I gained new clients organically. Today I handle few but regular clients. If I only focused on big volume short tail keywords then my chances of survival would be zero. I wouldn’t have reached 1st-page position for keywords or had organic clients. Pro Tip: Find the gap and determine money-making keywords where there is less competition. This will get you a few clients but will help you survive with funds that will shift focus onto big keywords. In the long run, this tip will make you stay in the market for longer. #2. Learn, Test, And Measure. Repeat! The best part of being a small or newly established firm is that decision-making isn’t a long process. This is a weapon you can use against big players because most large corporations have processes and different levels of managements to make changes in an existing plan or process they’re using. You’re small and new, so use this to your advantage. Learn something, test it and measure the results. If it works out for you, keep it in your process but if not, just leave it immediately and move onto learning again. This overall idea will help you stay in the market and strengthen you as a business. New and small businesses have an easy and adaptable nature; this helps them tap into certain types of market that is difficult for an established business. ClickDesk wasn’t the first live chat customer support tool but their “listen to customer” approach made them an established brand today. They have more than 35,000 customers using their product. Pro Tip: Run your business with a startup approach and customers will be drawn to you. If customers are happy, they will become your brand advocates for free. #3. Build a level of Personalization with customers Customers are smarter now; they don’t talk to company logos any more. They prefer talking to real people within the company which is why social media is on top of its game! If you figure out how to properly channel social media towards customers, they will love you and never leave you for bigger fish in the sea. The idea is to talk to them and build a certain level of personalization, which is almost impossible for the bigger companies to handle. Small ideas can help them love you and stick with you as a customer, this includes writing personalized emails instead of general ones and offering discount on their birthdays (a birthday wish works too!). Pro Tip: Remember you have a small customer base compared to big players in the game. Focus on making customers feel special and they will stick with you for a longer period of time. #4. Go by the Plan I’ve seen many businesses fail because they didn’t have a central plan which makes things haphazard and worked against them. The idea is to have a complete business plan and then objectives and targets that lead you towards your main business goal. This will help your team move forward with one mindset. If you’re starting up and don’t have a business plan my advice is to slow down and make a comprehensive business plan that covers every little detail about boosting business performance. Once you have a plan, just set your targets and move from there accordingly. The more targets you will meet the stronger and profitable your business will be. #5. Get Real Don’t plan too little or too much. Both can get you in trouble and set you off track from proper implementation. Let’s say you’re planning to launch a new feature, see how big players are reaching out to their audience and what kind of response they’re receiving. But also remember that you’re not as big as them and might not have the kind of budget they have to execute the strategy. Having information about big players is great but its best to get real, find your edge and design your execution strategy accordingly. If your message will be loud and clear, you’ll see a great response from the audience despite your business size. Tip: Focus on making your message clear and tell your customers how you’re different from the rest in the market and they will come to you. Remember, beating big players in the game is very difficult and as a small business you probably have zero chances of winning but saying that you cannot even compete with big fish in the sea, isn’t true! Try using the above-given ideas and they will help you make space for yourself in the market. Images: “Aquarium comparison. Illustration of the reaction of different participants in the same conditions. / Shutterstock.com“ ________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.