Beating Wal*Mart (Starbucks, etc) is a lark!

Beating Wal*Mart (Starbucks, etc) is a lark!.

I had an interview with execs from a financial services trade
association I'm going to address in a couple of months. The topic: Can
the small player compete in a world of Citigroups and Bank of Americas?
I said it was a lark. And I more or less meant it. That is, among other
things, giants— “new tech,” CRM, etc notwithstanding— will always be
clumsy and impersonal relative to an “intimate local” who is really out
to make a dramatic difference. Here's my WallopWalmart16
list of “musts” if you are a “little guy” (one-person accountancy,
restaurant, community bank, etc) out to eat the Big Guys' lunch:

*Niche-aimed. (Never, ever “all things for all people,” a “mini-Wal*Mart.)
*Never attack the monsters head on! (Instead steal niche business and lukewarm customers.)
*“Dramatically different.”
(La Difference … within our community, our industry regionally, etc
… is as obvious as the end of one's nose!) (THIS IS WHERE MOST
*Compete on value/experience/intimacy, not price. (You ain't gonna beat the behemoths on cost-price in 9.99 out of 10 cases.)
*Emotional bond with Clients, Vendors. (BEAT THE BIGGIES ON EMOTION/CONNECTION!!)
*Hands-on, emotional leadership.
(“We are a great & cool & intimate & joyful &
dramatically different team working to transform our Clients lives via
Consistently Incredible Experiences!”)
*A community star! (“Sell” local-ness per se. Sell the hell out of it!)
*An incredible experience, from the first to last moment— and then in the follow-up! (“These guys are cool! They 'get' me! They love me!”)
*DESIGN! (“Design” is a premier weapon-in-pursuit-of-the sublime for small-ish enterprises, including the professional services.)
*Employer of choice.
(A very cool, well-paid place to work/learning and growth experience in
at least the short term … marked by notably progressive policies.)
*Sophisticated use of information technology. (Small-“ish” is no excuse for “small aims”/execution in IS/IT!)
(The Web can make very small very big … if the product-service is
super-cool and one purposefully masters buzz/viral marketing.)
*Innovative! (Must keep renewing and expanding and revising and re-imagining “the promise” to employees, the customer, the community.)
*Brand-Lovemark* (*Kevin Roberts) Maniacs!
(“Branding” is not just for big folks with big budgets. And modest size
is actually a Big Advantage in becoming a local-regional-niche
*Focus on women-as-clients. (Most don't. How stupid.)
(A small player … per me … has no right or reason to exist unless
they are in Relentless Pursuit of Excellence. One earns the right— one
damn day and client experience at a time!— to beat the Big Guys in your
chosen niche!)

FYI: Two of my favorite examples, masters of all the above (albeit not midgets), are Canada's London Drugs (up against Wal*Mart) and the East Coast's Commerce Bank
  [The Tom Peters Weblog]

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