Everybody knows the story of David and Goliath. Despite his puny size, David successfully beats the huge, muscular Goliath with the deft maneuver of a slingshot. I think this story is particularly poetic for small business owners and solopreneurs.
Despite what you might think, small business is the backbone of the U.S. economy, accounting for over half of all new jobs. It’s clear that small businesses are popular, but what’s the secret to their success? Why are these pint-sized companies so appealing to customers?
Just like David: the solopreneur’s secret weapon
Customers are speaking up, especially in our digital age. Nobody wants to feel like a number or a cog in the corporate machine. According to a study by Customer Thermometer, 65% of customers give their business to companies that care. You’re in a unique position to give this emotion and connection to customers that big corporations simply can’t provide. In fact, being small gives you a mighty edge over behemoths, no matter your niche.
Just like David’s handy slingshot, small businesses and solopreneurs have a surprise weapon up their sleeve. It might seem insignificant, but the humble size of a small business is what makes it so successful.
Small but mighty
Quiz time! What’s the difference between buying a bracelet at Walmart and buying a bracelet from an Etsy shop? There are multiple right answers to this, ranging from buying a higher quality product to a more enjoyable shopping experience.
But what really sets the Etsy seller apart is her smallness. Here’s how an Etsy shop can build better customer loyalty than a mega-chain:
We live in a digital age, and that means small businesses and solopreneurs have to deal with increasing online competition. It’s tough to compete with the prices of big-box corporations, but you have something they’ll never have: personality.
It’s crucial to nail down the brand story and voice for your business, no matter its size. Clearly and consistently communicate who you are and how you bring value to your customers.
And don’t be afraid to sprinkle in your sense of humor or personality into your business! Jazz up email outreach, business cards, and your website to be cheeky, clever, or vivacious. Your small business has zero red tape and virtually no rules–express yourself freely and customers will respond with their business.
There’s a countermovement against our age of mass-production! Sounds scary, right? More and more, customers want to buy local products and services, especially if the funds go back into their own community. For example, the company Detroit Denim started off small, but quickly grew their customer base by focusing on reinvigorating the economy of Detroit.
Don’t be afraid to say you’re a mom running a blog in rural Alabama. You go girl! That’s an essential part of your story that your audience needs to hear.
The best thing about being small is that you don’t work in silos. Huge corporations have so much bureaucracy and red tape to wade through just to send a Tweet. As a solopreneur, you likely deal with everything from creating your product to billing to answering the phone to taking out the trash.
The huge upside to being a one-stop shop is that you can see all aspects of your business. You have the chance to hear and respond to customer feedback as it’s happening. You don’t have to wait for quarterly reports to know if something isn’t working; you’ll know the second your customer sends an email! This helps you treat problems quickly while improving the customer experience.
The bottom line
Don’t be afraid to share your modest story with the world. While many small businesses and solopreneurs like to put on the cloak of being a much larger company, your smallness can play to your advantage. Instead of challenging Goliath to a fistfight, use the tools that make your business so unique to win the fight.
Are you looking for storytelling inspiration for small business or solo shop? Check out my offerings here, including a FREE 30-minute consultation with me! And please drop a comment below with challenges you’re having creating your story — I’d love to help!
Your story…to be continued