“Small business” has become quite the buzzword. According to the Small Business Administration, more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.
Politicians constantly mention the positive effects small businesses have on the economy, and local leaders champion their impact. As a small business owner, you most certainly don’t mind this praise, especially during weeks of recognition, like National Small Business Week, which celebrates the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners nationwide.
But why do people really love small businesses? More importantly, how can you leverage this rally cry to improve your own business? It all comes down to understanding your customers and how they think about small businesses.
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It’s all about the underdog
We love cheering for the underdog. Whether you’re cheering for the lower seed in sports or the scrappy, undersized protagonist in popular entertainment, there is always something compelling about rooting for the underdog. It is part of our shared culture.
You may or may not view yourself and your business as an underdog, but the truth is, your customers probably do. Your size is a part of your brand, and this is not a bad thing. Take advantage of it! Give your customers the personalized connection a bigger business can’t. Make sure they know you value their patronage. People take great satisfaction in doing their part to help the underdog.
Courage is Encouraged
Much like the idea of rooting for the underdog, customers like supporting business owners who show courage. Entrepreneurs by their very nature are more courageous than most. It takes great bravery to take on the risks of owning a small business. They’re willing to put their financial and personal assets on the line in order to pursue their passion and chase their dreams. They are also forced to expand themselves in a way people value.
When entrepreneurs start their businesses, they are often required to wear many hats out of necessity. Some of those hats fit better than others. The successful business owner is able to navigate this, grow their skills and adapt until all of the hats fit, then eventually be successful enough to hire others. Your customers recognize this, and it gives you plenty of opportunities to surprise and wow them.
Everyone loves their home city and takes pride in the successes and achievements from their home town. In a way, your business’ success is akin to your local sports team winning a championship. Your community will come together to celebrate you achieving your goals.
Think about the large companies that began in your hometown. The city takes pride in those businesses, the community rallies around them, and it will rally around you and your success.
Return the favor and rally your business for your community. Even if you have aspirations of being a national brand, take some time to acknowledge local events. Congratulate your local teams on social media, celebrate local holidays and comment on positive community news. As you grow and expand into more communities, take the same approach for each community. It helps your customers and potential customers connect with you.
People love small businesses and appreciate the personalized customer service they’re able to provide. The size of your business is part of your company’s identity, so use it to your advantage. You’ll be hiring new employees and looking to expand in no time!
And if you are one of the many Americans that either own or work for a small business, thank you for all that you do to support our economy. Take time to enjoy National Small Business Week by participating in the many celebrations, events and opportunities it has to offer.
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and best-selling author Duct Tape Marketing, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine. His blog was chosen as a Forbes favorite for marketing and small business and his podcast, a top ten marketing show on iTunes was called a “must listen” by Fast Company magazine.