Small, local service companies can have it tough if they're gunning against a well-known franchise operating in their territories. But David can still slay Goliath–it's just a matter of playing your cards right. That's according to Jerry Nettuno, cofounder and CEO of Schedulicity, a web-based application for small, service-based businesses that allows consumers to schedule appointments from their mobile devices. Launched in 2009, Schedulicity recently surpassed 62 million appointments booked, boasts nearly 13 million consumers using its platform and has facilitated more than $4 billion in commerce. As a company dealing with tens of thousands of small businesses, check out Nettuno's advice on how to go up against giant franchises.
Double down on your relationships with customers.
This is your competition's Achilles heel, so think about how you can foster meaningful relationships with the people keeping your company alive. Do you remember their names and details about their lives? Do they feel special when you serve them? "[That is] a little bit harder for big franchises to do," he says. "I have been getting my hair cut at the same place for six or seven years. The woman who cuts my hair knows how old my kids are, if I'm in a relationship and the name of my cat."
Employ easy-to-use communication tools.
A slew of platforms exist that can help you let customers know when you're offering promotions as well as a window into your company's calendar of availability or events. And since technology can keep track of how often they patronize your business you can automatically send them friendly reminders along with the right kinds of coupons or special deals.
"For service-based professionals, the calendar is their inventory," Nettuno says. "Companies like Schedulicity provide the service provider with powerful tools to better manage their calendar, which is the backbone and the heartbeat of their business. All service providers want is someone to be in their chair, but as a consumer, making the appointment is the problem."