We’ve probably all known someone who started a small business, something that began as a simple side gig to pay for college (and rent and ramen!)’till school was done and they could start making the big bucks. What started out as a one man band in a small shop ended up being the eating joint where folks were always lined up down the street, no matter the time of day, and the business became part of the local buzz everyone was talking about. One small shop became two.
Before you go out on a limb and start a business, you’ve got to know your niche. You don’t want to duplicate what’s already out there, because you want your consumers to see your product as something that’s new, different and fresh.
Focus on having a quality product. Aiming to do too much at one time can actually end up being the reason you crash and burn. Hitting the ground running is an excellent game plan, but aiming to enthusiastically market several different products instantly, especially when you aren’t well-known, is a recipe for disaster. Work on a simple, quality product– something that will advertise itself by its flexibility, timeless style, or everyday need. It needs to be made well enough that the quality will advocate itself, and then prioritize marketing that one thing. Once the brand has gained traction, you can begin to introduce new things to your line– but wait til you have a name in the market, and one that carries some clout.
Make customer service a priority. Maya Angelou said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It’s pretty true. You might offer a good product, but if people have a negative experience when they interact with you, they’re going to remember it, and likely won’t want to rub shoulders with you again. If you are amazing to work with and you have a quality product, you’ll gain loyal customers, and they’ll bring you other customers, too. And, here’s the other thing: gone are the days where it might take a while for word to get around about bad service, dishonesty, or unfriendly business dealings.
Which brings us to the next point. You have to get on the virtual bandwagon. To neglect to have a presence with social media is missing out on an opportunity that could bring you more business. It happens all the time: someone shares something that they love or have discovered, and as a result of that, others check it out and end up loving the product, too, even when they weren’t originally searching for it. (Obviously, you can choose to hire someone to do your social media, someone who has a good camera or a writer that can sell your product better than you can, but those things aren’t mandatory.).
Attend local business expos and events that pertain to your area of business. These affairs are an excellent way to keep up to speed on what’s new in your industry, make relationships with others in your field and get ideas, all of which can be useful for future partnership and contribute to getting your name and product out there.
Put that little ball in motion, and watch as it gains speed, size, and traction. If you have a great product and are committed to the work it takes to get out there and become known, your business may end up being the next small business that goes huge.