How Can Small Businesses Gain a Competitive Edge?


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America is the home to small businesses, and it’s estimated that 99% of the total economy is composed of small firms that have less than 100 employees. These businesses cover all sectors of the economy and are a vital employer of the nation’s workforce.

If you’re a small business owner, you’ll be aware of how competitive the trading environment has become in recent years. With the dramatic rise in e-commerce and the willingness of consumers to make online purchases, many small businesses have found that they need to compete with international firms that are in the same market. This can make it harder for small businesses to remain profitable as the marketplace becomes increasingly crowded with competitors.

However, several important strategies can be adopted by smaller organizations that will help them to gain a competitive advantage. In this article, two distinct strategies will be explored, which are relevant for a wide range of small businesses in different sectors of the economy.

Table of Contents

1.   Expand cloud-based systems

Larger and more established organizations will have completed their transition to cloud-based systems (or will at least be part of the way to achieving this) from locally held services. However, small businesses need to recognize the importance of this step in providing a competitive edge. Online digital assets can support a remote or hybrid workforce, and this means that businesses can grow without having to invest in additional company premises.

As more applications are added to the cloud, it’s important to use a class-leading api platform to control and manage these applications. Put simply, a high-performing API platform will allow individual online programs and applications to work seamlessly together. It can drive increased efficiency for the workforce and higher levels of productivity as vital systems communicate effectively and experience less downtime.

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In addition, API platforms help to secure online digital assets from the ever-present threat of cybercrime. Traffic can be effectively monitored in the cloud and access requests can be denied when suspicious activity is flagged. In modern API platforms, this can be undertaken automatically as part of the whole operating system.

In short, cloud-based architecture that is well managed with an API platform allows a business to grow, reduces downtime, and promotes improved levels of efficiency, all of which help to give a small business a competitive advantage.

2.   Retain top talent

All small businesses will rely on a dedicated team of skilled staff to run various facets of their operations. However, if these staff members leave to pursue other careers, there will be a loss of knowledge in the firm which will take time and training of new starters to replenish. A business that retains its top talent will benefit from improved levels of efficiency and expertise, allowing it to be more competitive in its sector of operations.

Retaining top talent can be achieved by offering a comprehensive employee benefits package that’s ideally superior to those offered by competitors in the same industry. In addition, a small firm must demonstrate that it values employee development and career progression. Bespoke training programs should be offered to all staff, and these should provide routes to career advancement via internal promotions to senior positions.