Taking On Goliath

In the fight for survival with the big guys, these entrepreneurs used their scrappy ingenuity and underdog strengths to help them win.

In your dreams, the competition is poor, lame, blind and toothless--the kind of opponent you could knock out with a flick of your finger. In reality, your competition makes Godzilla look like Jiminy Cricket. These guys are big, bad and backed by corporate billions.

We're not talking about that mean three-unit chain down the road. We're talking about Starbucks, Wal-Mart, NikeTown and Tommy Hilfiger. Companies with the size--and the style--to make almost any competition look shabby.

What kind of maniac takes on these kind of competitors? The kind who recognizes a hot market, knows how to cultivate a niche, and isn't afraid of a fight. It's not your average business owner who can mix it up with a corporate giant and come out on top. But then, that's part of the fun.

Redondo Beach, California-based writer Gayle Sato Stodder believes every underdog should have its day.

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This article was originally published in the June 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Taking On Goliath.

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