So you’re starting a new business? What a crazy thing! I mean, you’re up against established brands, multi-million pound budgets, vast resources and a retail and supply network that’s well entrenched. What makes you think you can succeed? Rafael Rozenson, the CEO & Founder of Vieve (a protein water brand), answers all these questions from personal experience and gives his top five tips to compete with the big companies.
Having worked in FMCG at some of biggest consumers goods companies out there (P&G, Disney, GSK, Bacardi, Mars, Danone to name a few!) I have a deep understanding and respect for the power of big companies and brands. In launching my own business, however, I had to undertake a complete 360 mind shift and understand how it is possible to succeed while being the little guy.
Here’s 5 things I learned that have (so far!) allowed me to win as I start to build my business:
Big companies are notoriously slow moving by nature. Decisions often have to go through multiple rounds of decision makers, follow rigorous processes and in the end often very little gets done. At Vieve I change our strategy on a regular basis, often even daily. You don’t often get that liberty in a big company. Customers really love the flexibility to respond to their needs, so use it.
Having the huge resources and marketing budgets of a big company can actually make you complacent. You can end up spending vast amounts of money on things that actually deliver very little value for you. Being small forces you to be creative, and find ways to make the most of what you have. Use that creativity to find a unique space within your category and shout about it in a way that is totally your own.
With limited resources, you end up doing a lot of the work that would otherwise be done by many people in a larger organisation. On any given day I am my own marketing, sales, strategy, finance, logistics and customer service function. Sometimes all within the span of just a few hours! Wearing so many hats may be scary at first, but it gives you an incredibly solid grounding in your own business that will stand you in good stead as the company grows.
Big brands are by their nature manufactured constructs. Don’t be afraid to put a little bit of your personality into the brand, so it comes off as being authentic and human, so people can really engage with you. At Vieve as an example, we donate 1% of our profit to Mind, the mental health charity, because I’ve battled mental health problems all my life. It’s a way for people to connect with me, and my brand.
The most important lesson! Big companies are notorious for being arrogant, so take a more subtle approach and your customers, suppliers, partners and consumers will appreciate you much more.
Turn your size and all the limitations it carries into an advantage. Carve out your own unique space and don’t compete with the big guys on their terms. Create your own! Good luck…