You probably know the story of David and Goliath — well, at least the gist of it: Goliath was a giant and David was a regular-sized dude with a slingshot. David had no perceivable chance to defeat the great warrior he was matched up against, but thanks to his guile, smarts, and a well-placed stone, he pulled out the W. This old story is a common analogy for small businesses set on competing with the big boys. The takeaway isn’t just that small businesses have a chance against the Walmarts and Microsofts of the world, but that when the rules of the game seem insurmountable, sometimes it’s necessary to change the playing field. Goliath was a beast of a warrior armed with a sword and shield. David couldn’t compete in Goliath’s arena. So, he reinvented the geometry of the playing field not by attacking head on as expected, but by finding a vulnerability in his opponent’s strategy, specifically, the weakness in his armor. Small businesses can’t compete with the size, reach, and sheer force of their larger counterparts, but they do have stones in their arsenal that can level the playing field.

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Ecommerce has grown 129 percent year-over-year in the United States and Canada; all online retail has grown 146 percent. When 2020 is said and done (finally), U.S. ecommerce sales are expected to top $700 billion. The most successful companies have seen this coming for years; the pandemic only accelerated the schedule. Even a technology retail Goliath such as Best Buy scrambled at first to implement curbside pickup. However, Best Buy played to its strengths — budget and patience to reassess and respond — to rebound nicely. Now it’s converting a portion of its retail space into fulfillment hubs. It’s also partnering with Shipt to serve as a DoorDash-like last-mile delivery service.

Meanwhile, as the pandemic continues to ravage small businesses nationwide, it’s critical they find their own special means of survival. Instacart has flourished during the pandemic, maximizing its natural advantages over big grocers such as Kroger and Walmart. It has more than doubled its valuation in 2020 up to $17.7 billion after its most recent round of funding.

Lesser known Misfits Market has almost tripled its workforce since March and raised $85 million in Series B funding in only year two of its journey. How have has each not only survived but thrived? Sure, we could point to “favorable” unforeseen circumstances, but that would also be selling them short. Each was conceived with agility and a digital-first model.

Unlike big box retailers, most small businesses don’t have the wherewithal to survive nine months of turbulent waters to find their footing and graciously rebound like Best Buy. Time is of the essence. The average small business with less than 500 employees has less than a month’s worth of cash reserves. The heat is on to always keep an eye on future trends because they don’t have the luxury to react slowly. Fortunately, agility is an inherent trait of small business. Smaller headcount means fewer attitudes need to be adjusted toward new goals and workflows. A smaller footprint allows businesses of this size to find efficiencies faster. It might come in the form of workspace flexibility, a shift in production, or scalable communications solutions.

Make Your Small Business Seem Big

Neiman Marcus has been around for more than a hundred years, yet filed for bankruptcy last May. The luxury retailer operated 43 brick-and-mortar stores, 22 Last Call stores, and two Bergdorf Goodman stores, but furloughed most of its 14,000 employees in March. Considering the company already reported net losses north of $19 million in 2019, it’s easy to conclude that this big-ticket retailer was already struggling to keep up with a rapidly evolving online-centric landscape.

You probably also hear countless stories on the nightly news about small businesses pivoting toward alternate goods. Family-owned Steele Canvas has been around since 1921 manufacturing canvas-and-steel storage carts for tools and construction. In August, it was able to avoid furloughing its 70 employees by repurposing its manufacturing lines to produce masks. This is how a small business changes the playing field its favor.

Another inherent strength small businesses can tap into is scalable communications. With a relatively small workforce, it’s much easier to present like a big business on the phone on a much smaller budget. Services such as YouMail Small Business help keep small businesses afloat by making the gargantuan task of professional communications manageable. When seeking out an agile small business phone service, make sure it checks these boxes:

  • Plenty of storage — YouMail Small Business allows storage of up to 25,000 messages. Retaining access to a massive archive of voicemail messages is invaluable record-keeping that might be otherwise impossible even on a big budget.
  • Unlimited transcriptions — All those voicemails in your archive become far easier to manage and search when they are automatically transcribed upon receipt. Think of this like an email archive, except for phone calls.
  • Unified alerts — Instead of jumping from service to service, you can expedite and streamline all communications alerts into one central location. Paired with unlimited SMS replies, the convenience is unbeatable.
  • Conferencing — Let’s face it, remote conferencing became huge in 2020. You have to be accessible for conferences to stay in the game. YouMail Small Business allows up to 10 participants no matter if your conference table is in the office or in your dining room.
  • Auto-Attendant — In absence of a full-time receptionist to route calls, auto-attendant allows callers to navigate phone menus on their own. This is no longer a feature reserved just for big businesses with big budgets.
  • And more — Robocall blocking, auto-forwarding, auto-replies, personalized smart greetings, premium support, and more are all part of the YouMail Small Business package at rates suited for small businesses attempting to survive and thrive extraordinary circumstances.

How has your small business survived 2020 where other Goliaths have failed? Leave a reply and let us know.

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