I’m a small business owner, just like you. When I started my business, I didn’t have a lot of money to do fancy things like brand kits, or tons of marketing, banners, ads, and all that. Most small businesses don’t. Today with the advent of online technology, even as a business of one you can look a lot bigger. You can even do a lot of things that big brands do when it comes to branding your business and making your mark on your industry.
You’ve learned the lesson in twelve or more years of school that you shouldn’t copy anyone. While the fundamental lesson in that is still true, there is still a lot you can learn from big brands. In fact, you can copy their strategies, modify them, improve them, and reap the success. In this instance copying is allowed, and encouraged! Try copying some of these big brand strategies that WORK and make them work for you!
Personalize Your Brand – We’re not talking about making your brand personal to you, rather we mean that you have to make your brand personal. No, it’s not about you; it’s about them. Personalize everything you do to focus on your customer of one. Your email messages and all marketing messages should be or feel personalized to your audience. With most email platforms, you can add merge fields like “First name” or “Nickname” to make emails feel like you wrote them just for the person reading it.
Show Your Passion – Sometimes it’s easy to feel self conscious about being too passionate. After all, what’s that line from National Treasure? “One step short of crazy is passionate.” But it’s so important that your potential clients and customers see your passion, even if it’s a little crazy. Due to the fact that you don’t need to worry about a huge business, you have more time to focus on the passion you feel about your business and your offerings. If that shines through to your audience, they’ll respond by becoming raving and passionate fans too.
Stay Lean and Mean – A big advantage that you have over big business is that you can stay lean more easily than they can. You can outsource a lot of work during busy seasons and rein that in during the off season, keeping your profit margins up. This advantage allows you to spend money and time branding smartly. You can also save a lot of money and stay leaner by expanding your own skill set. You might not need to hire a coding expert to change the font on your website if you can do that yourself. Or a social media expert if you’ve done the algorithm research for your market.
Be Innovative – Large business have a lot of red tape that they have to go through in order to get things done. You don’t. It’s just you, right? So, you can act on new ideas quickly, beating the bigger businesses to the punch. The only “red tape” you have to face is your own. As you’re being innovative, be sure that you’re also not getting in your own way.
Provide Exceptional Customer Service – Since you have the option to spend more time with your customers, they should have a better experience. As a small business owner, it’s important to maintain excellent customer service not only for your clients but for yourself. You have the ability to deliver brilliant customer service, because you don’t have to deal with as high a volume of complaints and issues as a large business where the owners are very separated from the details.
Niche It Down – We’re all used to hearing this by now. And there are so many arguements for niching down and for not doing so. Perhaps it’s best to keep your FOCUS small. You cannot spread yourself so thin that you don’t have time to make that one thing that you do the very best, differentiating yourself from bigger business. Be sure that even if you don’t limit your niche you do know your limits in order to maintain the small business difference that people will expect.
Plan for Growth – Even though we all have that small voice of self doubt in our brains, it’s important to plan for the day that your business explodes! Even as a small business, if you do everything right, you’re going to have to be ready for growth. Perhaps you need to identify contractors and software that enables you to grow. That way you won’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you grow. Even if something is out of your price range, keep things like this bookmarked for use later on down the line.
Pay Attention to Details – When you’re a small business, the little things really do matter. Pay close attention to the things you do because the smallest thing, such as sending a thank you note, a birthday wish and the close personal attention that you can give, will make all the difference. It’s important to keep track of these details also because any mistakes only fall back on you, even the small ones. Why make any mistakes when you can double check yourself and be diligent?