3 Ways to Use Your “Underdog” Status to Your Advantage

Written by | Entrepreneurship



When you’re the underdog, there are quite a few ways to turn your “weaknesses” into your biggest assets.

When a smaller company and a large multinational franchise compete to win a job, who do you think will win?

You might think the big guy is going to win, but it’s been proven that 88.1% of people root for the underdog.

How can you, as the underdog, beat the big guys? There are 3 distinct ways to use your size to your advantage:

1. Connect

Successful underdogs make their customers feel special.

You set out to accomplish something a lot of people wish they could do, but haven’t for whatever reason.  If the smaller company can get the job done just as well as the big guy, butproves to be a more emotionally satisfying option, the customer will choose the smaller operation.

The big guy treats his customer like a number.


The big guy has grown to the point where he has enough business to sustain him and he no longer feels the need to nurture personal relationships with his customers.

TIP:  Make customers feel special for choosing you.

Once you’ve proven yourself trustworthy to Mrs. Jones, she’s going to tell her friends about you and the game of telephone will continue in your favor. Work to build that initial relationship and make it as strong as possible.

2. Be Flexible

Successful underdogs are agile and are not afraid of change.

Bigger companies have too many moving parts and are too set in their ways to make a drastic change quickly.  The underdog doesn’t have this problem; they can change direction quickly if they want to.

Ben, from our last post, realized this fast and used it to his advantage. He began to make tactical changes that had an instant impact on his business (like extending his business hours and being more flexible with his customer’s schedule rather than having them work around his). Ben also started working with his customers to give them more competitive rates.

His ability to be flexible let the customers know they were his top priority.  By leveraging his flexibility, Ben differentiated himself from the competition and made himself more appealing and personable.

An underdog’s biggest hindrance can be when they feel bound by things that don’t work.


TIP:  Search for areas in your business that need improvement, conduct the necessary research and fix them as soon as possible.

Welcome the ability to change. Embrace it and know that it might get worse before it gets better, but it will be worth it in the end.

3. Accept Help

Successful underdogs look around for ways to do more with limited resources; they don’t expect to succeed on their own.

Every successful underdog will tell you they’ve had assistance on their journey to success.  They surround themselves and create a network with positive people they trust and who believe in their mission. They surround themselves with people who have complementary skills and learn from them.

Make sure you have the proper tools, and network, to boost your efficiency and give you an advantage.  Automate as much as possible so that you can go home to your family at night.

Nobody is expecting you to be a superman or wonder woman.


TIP:  Establish and maintain relationships with other business owners that work in your area but are not direct competitors to get information and referrals.

Nothing feels worse than knowing you made running your business harder on yourself than it needed to be.

Final Thoughts



“The difference between a successful person and others is

not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”

– Vince Lombardi


You don’t have to let your underdog status define you. Use your size, undying will to succeed, personal touch, and flexibility to your advantage.

Every successful underdog will tell you they’ve gone through tremendous changes on their journey.

When it’s all said and done, most people would prefer to think about how they overcame their weaknesses and beat the odds versus running through a list of regrets.


Vince Lombardi Picture Credit: www.biography.com

Last modified: November 28, 2016

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