Have you ever met someone who was trying to be something they weren’t? We all know the computer nerd who tried to act like a jock in high school. While sometimes it works out for them, often we can’t take them seriously. So why would your small business want to be something it’s not? If you’re a small business, embrace it and use it to your advantage.
In 1991 Stacey Pecor opened Olive and Bette’s, a small fashion boutique in Vermont. She wanted to bring high-end fashion to the women of her community. Once she conquered Vermont, she took a crack at the fashion capitol of the U.S., New York City. She chose high-traffic areas to attract a wide variety of customers, and big-name stores popped up around her. She benefited from the extra traffic. By putting her employees through rigorous training and keeping a careful eye on sales, Pecor is someone who succeeded through focusing on quality over quantity.
Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea, Inc. is taking on one of the most successful brands in recent years, and it isn’t an easy fight. To differentiate yourself from Starbucks, you have to work pretty hard. Intelligentsia’s baristas must complete a two-month certification program before they can make you a drink. When they do, it’s like ordering a piece of art. The company also travels the globe to find the best beans.
A wine shop in Copenhagen found an underground bomb shelter in a small park to set up shop. Visitors not only get to purchase wines but also get the experience of visiting a bomb shelter. Talk about a unique experience.
Think about what makes your company special then create a story or experience around it. You may have to rebrand. You can be proud of being small. Use it to build a personal connection with your customers to deliver quality products and amazing service.
As you’re working on your story, consider how you want to grow. Remember almost every company starts small, but some make the business decision to go big. If you’re planning this strategy, keep in mind how to maintain the unique experience on a grand scale.