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The dominance of major e-commerce companies and big-box retailers has always been seen as a threat to smaller businesses. Bigger businesses can offer selections, prices and convenience that small businesses cannot, not to mention a virtually limitless advertising budget. This massive discrepancy has prompted small businesses to concentrate on emphasizing their greatest strengths as well as the general appeal of being small. Many developed new strategies to maximize performance for this past holiday season and ultimately overshadow the tremendous discounts of their much bigger competitors.

For small businesses in several industries across the country, these strategies were met with tremendous success. Here are a few ways small businesses were able to attract the interest of shoppers who might have otherwise given their business to Amazon or Walmart:

1. WARM ATMOSPHERE

Business owners often speak of a memorable “customer experience” that causes the shopper to remember the act of purchasing a product more than the product itself. This is because one of the primary reasons someone would choose a small business over a big business is because the former sells less products and therefore has the the ability to create a storefront that is much more comforting than the crowded mess of the latter. Jon Abt, who owns an appliance and furniture store in Chicago, specifically designed his store to accommodate families who, up until walking in, were expecting another boring day shopping for boring products.

While shopping, Abt’s customers can munch on chocolate chip cookies, gaze into an aquarium, and, during the holidays, let their kids sit on the lap of an authentic, costumed Santa Clause. Abt’s said his sales were up 15% from 2016’s holiday season. Ideas like this are now much more accessible thanks to alternative business financing companies like United Capital Source, which provide business funding specifically tailored for renovations or the implementation of in-store amenities like a refreshment area or entertainment center.

2. STAYING LOCAL

The “small” in small business is usually just another word for “local.” Over the past decade or so, shoppers have displayed an increasing interest in local businesses, possibly just to show their support for their community. More and more people are finally beginning to understand that local businesses give their town character and are extremely appealing for visitors who are tired of seeing the same old chains. Joe Taylor, who owns a series of hardware stores in Virginia, emphasizes locality by donating to churches and schools and offering a rewards program that gives customers a 5% rebate for every $250 they spend.

He also acknowledges that being located in the center of town plays a huge role, since many of his customers can access his store with a simple walk down the block. Securing property in a busy space can be expensive but the initial costs are clearly worth the reward. This is the kind of an investment business funding programs were made for, especially those that do not have to be paid back as you are occupied with other important responsibilities like building a new team or buying new equipment.

3. PERSONAL SERVICE

Speaking of team members, another vital element of the aforementioned “customer experience” is personal service. Big businesses serve so many people that they don’t feel the need to put too much effort into the way employees communicate with customers. They won’t suffer if they lose a customer or two solely because they made them wait too long on the phone or spoke to them like emotionless robots. Small businesses, on the other hand, strive to treat every individual customer with care and respect. When they search for new team members, they are often looking for attitude and demeanor rather than talent or intellect.

Candidates of this nature, however, are few and far between. It could take weeks or even months to find people with the right attitude but with the right type of business funding, you could take all the time you need interviewing and training new hires without worrying about the impact these processes are having on productivity.

SPECIAL BUSINESSES = SPECIAL BUSINESS FINANCING

Holiday-related investments are extra stressful because they are time-sensitive, meaning they have to begin at a specific date in order to achieve the desired results. While several other business lenders can approve funding in less than 48 hours, United Capital Source is among the only ones that can do this for multiple types of business funding programs. We can not only get you your money right away but also arrange terms that best suit your current financial situation. This is possible because, just like small businesses, UCS attributes its success to a small team of business funding experts who are devoted to getting to know their customers. It’s not a computer generated algorithm but a relaxing chat with a human being that will produce the right small business loan for you.

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