Sunday 12 May, 2013
The story is familiar, Woolworths and Coles move to a small country town and the corner store is forced to close. Bunnings Warehouse builds a mega department right next door to Uncle Pete's - the handy man speciality store - and, a month later, see you later Pete. So how can small businesses compete with these giants? Marc Brennan, Australian Small Business Commissioner, stresses the importance of finding a business niche. "I've seen it before. Wollies comes in and all the other businesses throw their arms up in the air because they can't compete. The stores that do remain successful are the ones that offer a food service that Wollies can't provide. It might be speciality jams or exotic spices," Brennan said. Brennan also says that it's important that a small business doesn't relocate just because the bigger giant moves in. "If you discover your niche then you will get all the by-passers and customers from the giants," Brennan said. His advice doesn't only apply to the food stores. Small gyms are being encouraged to compete with their giants such as Fitness First by offering better customer service and tailored exercise programs. Other reports about the retail sector state that highly specialised shops can do really well and that more than often, it's the bigger departments that need to cut staff or close down. Darrell Lea, the confectionary business, is a good example of this. It has moved to administration and is closing down half of its stores. Brennan applauds OneShift for creating a business niche in the employment industry. OneShift is the only job platform which matches a job seeker to a job based on their availability, location and skills - just like a dating website. 'It's such a simple idea and yet, no one has thought about it,'? Brennan said. With the giants getting bigger and more competitive, it's crucial to discover your business niche and to promote it.