ImageAs an aspiring start-up, your path to prosperity can feel blocked from the onset. Lacking the huge promotional budgets of the major players, as well as the economies of scale, markets can seem impenetrable.

As Sly Stallone’s career has shown us time and time again though, people love an underdog and it is possible to succeed against the odds.

There’s a litany of businesses that have risen from humble beginnings to become leaders in their chosen field, despite the competition that faced them. Likewise there’s enumerate small businesses that thrive in their markets, despite their lesser capabilities.

An aspiring startup or small business owner looking to go toe to toe with the big? Here’s some ways to go about it.

Instigate innovation

Firstly, small business will always struggle to compete on price. This makes it even more important to offer something different to customers, something that they can’t get elsewhere and that they’ll be willing to pay more for.

This doesn’t need to be Da Vinci-esque levels of innovation, it can be relatively simple. As long as it fulfils a customer demand that hasn’t already been met, then you’ll have an edge over competitors. Big and small.

Personalise your service

Huge corporations and conglomerates can often feel faceless, lacking customer care and a personal touch. Largely, because of their sheer size.

As a small business or start up you’re in a prime position to offer this though, and you can really focus on customer care. People buy from people after all and if they've had good service, the more likely they’ll come back. Elsewhere, personalise your social media and try to exude your company’s character through that.

Focus on flexibility

Small businesses have greater flexibility than their corporate counterparts and, in turn, carry a significant competitive edge.

Whereas conglomerates can be bound by procedures and less flexible in what they can offer, small businesses are more adaptable and capable of changing to meet customers' needs. By focusing on making your business as flexible as possible, you may be able to meet new demands. Whatever they may be.

Continually produce quality

Producing continual quality can instil and maintain customer satisfaction, making them favour your business over the big guns. You might also be able to charge more, should your product exceed your rivals.

Speaking recently on the success of Apple, their head of design Jonathan Ive said ‘Our goal and what makes us excited is to make great products. If we are successful people will like them and if we are operationally competent, we will make money.’

Quality before quantity is intrinsic to Apple’s philosophy and it’s one that’s worth adhering too, as their success shows.

Keep a keen eye on your competitors

You’ll need to do this as a business whatever your size, but it’s even more integral if you’re small. Keeping a keen eye on competitors, you’ll be better able to exploit their shortcomings and counter their new creations.

This is incredibly easy nowadays, what with increasing businesses embracing social media and shifting themselves online. Peruse over their sites, social media or shops and see how you can better them, constantly.