Small Business is that the backbone of this country. I shudder to think what our economy would be like without small businesses providing jobs and tax income in every city and city within the U.S.
Many years ago, I worked with a lady who grew up near Louisville, Kentucky. One day, over lunch, we were reminiscing about our teenage summer jobs. Hers was performing at her grandmother’s pizzeria.
“Does your grandmother still make pizza?” I asked.
She shook her head. A Papa John’s opened directly across the road. Grandma couldn’t compete with its lower prices and broader delivery area. Once Papa started taking orders online, it had been everywhere. Grandma shut her doors and retired.
Don’t Let the big Guys creep up on Your Business.
Don’t get me wrong. I do not dislike Papa John’s pizza; it certainly tastes better than a number of the opposite national chain pizza. But it had been sad to listen to how my colleague’s grandma was quashed by a growing chain.
Do you worry this might happen to you? Are you challenged by the proximity of a national chain with extra money to innovate and undercut you? Does one desire the playing field is tilting away at greater angles?
Don’t despair. Fight back with what causes you to be unique to your customers and reminding them about the it-your understanding of their individual needs, and therefore the incontrovertible fact that they’re people, not accounts. Stress the importance of supporting local business, and practice what you’re preaching!
Every year, American Express sponsors a little Business Saturday that sometimes follows Black Friday. If this or an identical campaign is in your community, join it.
Shop at local stores as often as possible. Resist big box stores apart from items that basically aren’t available anywhere else. Once you patronize local places, you learn more about the local businessmen, and who knows, you’ll gain new customers directly or by referral.
Redouble your customer service efforts.
The last bullet is significant. The large chains do emphasize customer service, but you’ll stand out because you and your employees actually know your customers, assuming your turnover is lighter than the typical Wal-Mart’s.
Sometimes you’ve got to mention this a touch forcefully, mainly when the competition is far cheaper or maybe free. Ask your friends to prevent Liking free website building services; for example, while they’ll be free, the sites are rarely attractive or particularly useful. Legitimate businesses don’t sell a one-size-fits-all approach. But such as you, they take the time to make customized solutions.
Always remember this, “People do business with people, not businesses.” Probably the best advantage the tiny business owner has over the “Big Guys” is that the business owner himself or herself. Take the time to return out from your office and meet your customers. Show some personality in your social media posts. People tend to understand the name of the tiny business owners they often do business with. Does anyone know the name of the CEO of Home Depot? If so, let me know in the comments below.
Look for Small Business Resources
If money may be a growing issue, I can understand. It has been difficult for small businesses and entrepreneurs to urge loans. Banks still sit on piles of cash and have given many folks the snub.
More options are surfacing for small businesses that require upgrading equipment, move to raised locations, or just need access to credit so as to reply to unexpected events. Here are few trends I’ve noticed:
Crowdfunding is about to require off, albeit the SEC is slow to release rules about who qualifies for equity funding. Colorado and Arizona recently passed legislation allowing non-accredited investors to shop for SMB stock or invest in them ($5000 in Colorado and $10,000 in Arizona).
Online loans from companies like Kabbage, Accion, IOU Central, OnDeck, and may Capital often mention determining small businesses’ loan worthiness. These companies could also be excellent sources of capital, but you would like to look closely at the particular cost of the loan. Make sure you understand the rate of interest and, therefore, the loan origination fees, if any.
Mobile providers are abandoning long-term contracts after T-Mobile ended them in 2013. Many are fixing small business centers to cater to the present previously overlooked segment.
Use tools developed for tiny businesses to assist together with your marketing and streamline your efforts to grow. Companies like Constant Contact and HubSpot really have the small business owner’s back.