A recession brings opportunities and pitfalls. In this challenging economy we are seeing many smaller competitors pop-up in signmaking; people who have lost their jobs and are looking to put food on the table for their family. On the other side of the coin, in a world where Wal-Mart is king, small business live in fear of being closed out by bigger businesses and franchises. Most feel as if they cannot compete with these major league players and sometimes fold under the pressure. What can you do to not only keep your business afloat, but to get more customers when the market becomes flooded with bigger (and even smaller) businesses?

One of the most intimidating things bigger businesses and franchises do is heavily advertise on TV and in the newspaper with pretty flashy advertisements. These marketing blitzes are actually quite helpful to small businesses because they remind the public how much they need your service! So, while your competitor is busy spending all kinds of money on advertising, your business can be reaping all the benefits, but only if you are prepared to do so.

In order to fight against major competitors (of all sizes) you have to have a well run business where customer service is key and things always run smoothly. View each interaction you have with a client as an opportunity to remind them why they are using you as their provider. They will not only remember your quality products, but the standout way in which you presented them. This is what makes you stand out among the competition.

Happy clients make the best advertisers. If they are satisfied with the way you do things and pleased with past interactions they will not only be sure to return, but they will likely talk about your high quality of business to others. Word of mouth is a much more powerful tool than a print ad in the paper or a fancy commercial on TV. Someone vouching for you does much more than those kinds of advertisements can.

So, instead of being scared off by bigger businesses and franchises, view it as an opportunity to get your team together, fortify relationships with existing clients, and contract new ones as they begin to search out your services, all thanks to the loud mouth adverts of your competition. And take a look at what your customers are saying when they complain. Every customer complaint is an opportunity to improve you systems and internal procedures.