Beating Goliath: Are your competitors too big?

2018/08/10 08:00

big competitors

Your small business wasn’t meant to stay small, right?

Not every company can be as huge as Facebook and Google. But small companies can grow and survive to beat its competitors. How can you build a successful business though when there are giants already existing in your industry? How can you compete with your competitors on limited resources?

You don’t have to be the biggest to beat the biggest.” – Henry Ross Perot

Do you remember the story of David and Goliath? It seems apt in this scenario. Let me remind it to you!


It is simply a story of how a little shepherd boy defeated a famous fully armed giant warrior. Goliath was a nine-foot soldier who boasted he could beat any soldier in the Israelite army. He was terrifying and none of the soldiers wanted to fight him. However, David walked right up to Goliath and killed him with a single shot to the head.

The lesson of the story? The underdogs can win and overtake their giant competitors. How does this story apply to you and the business world?

Let’s see how to survive in the cutthroat business world!

Find your niche

This lesson is very much applicable to the business world. Many companies like Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Virgin Atlantic outperformed established companies like Barnes and Noble, IBM, British Airways with their limited budgets.

  • How did Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic manage to break through the monopoly of British Airways? He focused on an ignored niche. “Business class and Students.
  • How did Henry Ford get to be one of the richest men in his time? He focused on providing quality automobile at an affordable rate to an overlooked niche, “the masses or low-income earners.”

Sure, giant companies can do big things. They have manpower, money, and resources to achieve those things. But you can use your strengths to disrupt the market. With a plan, a monopoly can be broken.

Here is a surprising fact! Customers aren’t only after the best and cheapest products!

I know it is tough beating big companies at their game. But your products don’t have to be better. They just need to be unique.

As a new firm, you’ll need to do something better, cheaper, faster or amazingly different in a way that won’t put you directly in the crosshairs of a big, powerful company” – Professor James Schrager from the University of Chicago

Small companies can accomplish this if they come up with a product or service that’s different and unique in its own way.

Get a grasp on the services you provide. Check out the demographics of your audience as this will help you in fine-tuning your strategy.

One of the best ways to learn and grow is to connect with your customers. So, how good are you at building relationships?

Fear is faith that it won’t work.” – Mary Kay Ash

You should never see your competitors as infallible. Instead, you should focus on the possibility to outperform your competitors. Just as Adidas slogan says: “Impossible is nothing.

Be faster

bigger competitors

Let’s go back to the David vs Goliath story! Even though David is a lowly shepherd boy he refuses to wear armor. Why? Because he realizes that heavy armor weighs a warrior down.

How can you beat the big guys? Yes, it’s true, large companies have lots of resources.  But do you know what else they have?  Bureaucracy! This means they are slow. There is a lot of bureaucratic hurdle in very big companies. On the other hand, small companies don’t have such a problem. You can interact with your customers, respond to their emails within minutes and interact with them.

This way you can connect with your customers in a way big competitors never can!

Despite their size and strength, big companies are rarely prepared for a confrontation with a fast-moving adversary that refuse to challenge them on their own battlefield.

Your greatest and most powerful business survival strategy is going to be the speed at which you handle the speed of change. That speed of change is trend.” – Ajaero Tony Martins

Every big company has its haters. Use social media, to find them. Let them know why they would be happier with you. It is a great way to build a foundation for your business.

Be more flexible

Let’s take a look at the David and Goliath story again.

The final misconception in our story is the idea that David goes into battle with “only a sling.” That’s not true! David is carrying a sling. This is a simple but highly effective weapon. The lesson isn’t simply that when a powerful competitor takes on a smaller one, the smaller one might nevertheless win.

To defeat the enemy, you must be as flexible as water. Water has the ability to quickly take the shape of any container it finds itself.” – Chinese proverb

Small companies have the freedom and flexibility to experiment and try out new ideas. Big companies are stuck by their policies and ego wars. But as a faster business, you have the luxury to test out new ideas and pivot your strategy, reacting swiftly to either success or failure.

Develop your own strategy

strategies beat competitors

If you want to overcome your competitors, you have to develop a smart strategy. Let’s take a cue from our biblical story. You must have noted that David had a strategic approach. His strategy was to overcome Goliath with minimal effort. To make sure he is successful he employed the following tactics:

  • He picked five stones instead of one, just in case the first stone didn’t make the hit.
  • He did not engage Goliath in a hand to hand combat
  • David exploited Goliath’s ego and overconfidence
  • David aimed to reach his goal with the first shot
  • He took Goliath by surprise and caught him off guard

It’s a war, right? No army can win without knowing their adversary. Therefore you should study who you’re up against.

Watch what your competitors are doing. Figure out their strategies. Analyse their strengths and weaknesses. No company does everything right!

With careful analysis, you can lessen the impact of their moves and make your own strategies to defeat them.

For a small company to take down a bigger player, needs to understand how they think.

It is not really about fighting with the giants. It is about carving your own space. Find one customer, then ten, then a hundred. Do not let the giant affect your focus. All companies have started and eventually became big. Start small and defeat them slowly!

The business lesson: When underdogs choose not to play by Goliath’s rules, they win.

I have no fear of an opponent in front of me. I am very self-sufficient, they do not bother me. I make up my mind, “that’s it, baby, you’d better kill me before I get you“. – Bruce Lee

In conclusion: Dream big, play hard and win!