Is it possible for small businesses to thrive and survive today? Well, it depends on who you ask. Some people have a more pessimistic outlook and think that Amazon and other big-box retailers have squashed any possibility of smaller brands making a profit. However, there are some benefits of owning a small business that bigger retailers don’t have. We’re not minimizing the challenges that small businesses face. What we do want is to highlight some of the unique advantages of small, locally-owned operations and why they’re able to succeed.
Community of consumers
Small businesses have the ability to build a community around them in a way that bigger corporations can’t. Customers come to know the staff, the owners, and other people behind the scenes and build relationships with them. When people have a personal relationship and connection to a brand, they’re more likely to support them. Business owners have an opportunity to embody their brand and allow customers and prospects to get to know them. The result is a more meaningful connection with customers who are likely to become repeat business. We’ve really seen this with the COVID-19 pandemic when communities rallied around locally owned businesses to help keep them afloat. Today’s buyers are more conscientious of where they spend their money and many people prefer to put their hard-earned cash in the pockets of mom-and-pops stores instead of national chains.
Advantages of a small team
Operating with a smaller team might seem like a disadvantage, but it does have some key benefits that help small businesses grow and stay running. With a smaller team, each person has a clearly defined role. You don’t have to worry about being overstaffed or having people on your payroll who spend most of their time at work doing nothing. Plus, it’s also easier to oversee and manage a smaller group than a team that’s so big you can barely remember anyone’s name. It also fosters camaraderie and teamwork with your employees, which helps the business run more smoothly. And of course, it keeps costs down too.
Freedom to be flexible
There’s a lot of bureaucratic red tape within big companies. It can take weeks or months – sometimes even years – to get certain projects off the ground or make changes to the brand. As a small business, you don’t have a board and a bunch of teams you have to consult with before making a decision. You could change your logo or your brand colors overnight if you wanted to. If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that businesses need to be able to pivot quickly. As a small business owner, you don’t have to go through cumbersome processes to make the changes needed to continue operating. Whether it’s offering a new product or service, changing your hours, or rebranding, you have the power.
Higher quality of service
There’s a higher quality of service that’s associated with smaller businesses. People often choose to frequent a smaller establishment simply because they trust that the quality of the food, services, or products will be better. It’s why people who want a delicious cheeseburger will go to the town’s best pub instead of McDonalds, or why they’ll pay more for a haircut and highlights at a salon instead of going to SuperCuts. A lot of big companies focus more on profit than the customer, resulting in lower quality. Consumers know this and are often more likely to turn to a local business – even if it’s a bit more expensive – when they want assurance of a good experience.
If you own a small business, start thinking of your size as your superpower instead of your weakness. It’s hard to run a business but there are people out there who want to support you and see the value you provide over one of your bigger competitors. Shopping small and local is becoming increasingly trendy, allowing you to capitalize on these advantages you have.