I keep on bumping into situations with small companies which want to play the game like larger companies do. Although that does sound highly optimistic it ends up being a non-practical way towards approaching things especially if your capital and budget are not even 1/20th the size of the larger companies.
I have a serious issue with smaller companies spending money on branding when they have no objectives. I see how many small business owners are more focused on being recognized than bringing a return on investment to there companies.
My advice to small business owners it to work on keeping your company profitable by measuring marketing expenses and identifying a Return on Investment goal with each expense.
Being that I served in the US Military I do have a military background and a fun way for me to explain to my small business clients on how not to act like larger companies is using the example of how Guerilla Warfare is conducted.
The term Guerilla means “Little War” in spanish and also is defined as irregular warfare.
5 characteristics of guerilla warfare
- Surprise – In Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” it is the following phrase is one that has always stood out “To mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy” is one of the key principles of war. On many occasions small business owners are looking for recognition even from competitors. Focus on getting the product right, without having to announce it to everyone the element of surprise might help you in the long term. The same way you have to guard yourself from surprise attacks don’t warn your competitors.
- Extraordinary Mobility – After working as an IT Auditor for many years I can easily identify gaps in a process. I see companies focusing on creating processes that are applicable for larger organizations. Every business decision and process should be aligned towards keeping yourself lean, highly mobile, and even more importantly profitable. Make a list of your core business objectives and align them to keeping yourself lean. My friend @chrisbrogan wrote two days ago FOCUS ON THE CORE it might help you in identifying core parts of your business.
- Harass a larger and less-mobile traditional army (organization) – On some occasions small businesses get bullied by larger counterparts. Why not turn it around and apply some pressure to the bigger guys. By using social media you can leverage any effort into one that can put some weight on your competitors shoulders no matter what the size.
- Strike a Vulnerable target – If you see there is an opportunity to go after an underserved market then you should go for it. Being a small business can make it easier for you to approach the market by creating solid relationships. On most occasions opportunities arise and the entity with the best relationships is the one that can really reap the benefits.
- Precise Monitoring – It is easier for smaller companies to monitor their communities and customers. With adequate tools like for example JitterJam which we are a re-seller at CIMA IT Solutions. JitterJam works as an antenna to stay on top to what your customers and competitors are doing and saying about your products and your brand. There are various other monitoring tools which you can use that are free but in my opinion not as effective.
If you are a small company protect from ambushes, sabotage, and raids by using the previous 5 characteristics to your advantage.
Have you identified any individuals who want to act like they are a larger company even when they should be focusing on the advantages of being a smaller organization.
What other Guerilla general tactics can a Small Business use to their advantage?