A client recently asked me how he could possibly compete with bigger players in his market with economies of scale who would always be able to undercut him.
I recounted a good example.
There is a small DIY store on a side street that has been there for many years. The high street is close by with a number of the mainstream DIY chains. Yet this small store is always busy.
The guy who runs it always asks his customers exactly what they are doing and what they need the tools / equipment for.
His questioning is relentless but he always makes sure people don't buy anything they don't need. If he doesn't have what his customers are looking for he will tell them where they can find it.
Word of mouth carries and for this reason he thrives in the face of bigger competitors with lower prices.
He cares about his customers and is always doing right by them. It's almost as if profit is not his objective, although ironically due to this approach his profit margins are stronger than ever.
A simple story with a powerful message; and anyone struggling in the face of bigger competition could do well to bear this in mind.