As Small Business Saturday nears, it seems appropriate to not only support small local businesses, but to also celebrate what’s empowering about being a small business. You’ve surely heard the term “small but mighty” before. Well, small businesses really do have some advantages over larger competitors. Unfortunately, we often get fixated on the challenges and overlook the benefits that being small brings. Time to get over that and focus on our strengths!
How do you have the edge as a small business?
- You’re more than a logo
As a small business owner, you have the opportunity to more easily forge relationships with customers than bigger brands with multiple layers of management. Face-to-face networking, community involvement, and using social media personally all put a face to your brand. YOU can – by being engaged and showing that you care – build goodwill and give your company a reputation of likeability. If I know and like an owner of a company, I’m certainly more inclined to do business with them. I think most people feel the same way.
- Relationships build loyalty
As you leverage the real relationships that you’re able to develop and nurture as a small business owner, people in your community (in person and online) will naturally feel more loyal to you. I often find that my business relationships expand even beyond business and lead to friendships as well because we work so well together and have such strong mutual respect for each other. While you should never seek a friendship for professional gain, your naturally-occurring friendships that stem from your business relationships will make your professional bonds stronger.
- The “local” movement is not a fad
People have become much more in tune with the importance of supporting their local business communities. They realize that putting their dollars back into the local economy makes a positive difference in the quality of life where they live and work. Embrace that as a small business owner – and be sure that you express your sincere appreciation to your customers and your community.
Even when you’re seeing success fueled by your community relationships and local appeal, you need to pay attention to the things customers find endearing about big businesses. On the Small Biz Survival Blog, Becky McCray has written a series of posts focused on the weaknesses of many small businesses. Among them: limited business hours, high prices, and limited selection. Don’t let those things drive your customers away! When you can’t match large businesses in those areas, you need to at least meet customers in the middle or demonstrate value above and beyond what the big guys can provide.
As Small Business Saturday approaches, I hope you’ll celebrate your successes and make the most of the wonderful advantages you have as a “small shop.”