Making Your Small Business Stand Out

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No matter how intelligent you are or how unique your idea might seem to those around you, having your business stand out is far from easy. There are several reasons for this.

First, globalization has created an ultra-competitive corporate environment, an environment where someone is probably doing the same thing as you at a much lower price. Second, digital technology has leveled the marketing playing field. Anybody with a phone and an internet connection can reach millions upon millions of people anywhere on earth. Finally, business growth takes time, and a great reputation doesn’t come out of thin air.

But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use all the tools at your disposal and do whatever you can to maximize your chances of standing out.

Three ways to do it are focusing on brand image and product presentation, getting involved in CSR activities, and providing exceptional customer service. 

The Beauty of Presentation

Time and again, people remember the things that are memorable to them and leave a long-lasting impact. Even if you don’t recall every single birthday party you have ever had, a few ones might stick to mind. Perhaps in one of them, you got a present you really loved or your first crush gave you a big hug of congratulations. Maybe you remember it because it was the first time you celebrated away from your family, or an important person was missing.

Regardless of the situation, menial, ordinary things oftentimes come and go without leaving a mark and are soon forgotten.

The same goes for a business, especially a new one. If your brand isn’t well-known and you present yourself the same way others do, chances are your company will not survive for long. On the other hand, if you have a storefront with a great name in customized vinyl lettering, colorful business cards, a unique, eye-catching logo, and distinctive packaging, even if some people don’t buy from you, they will still recollect your shop and quite possibly tell others about it. And nothing is better for a starting business than free marketing.

Promoting with a Cause

In simple terms, corporate social responsibility, or CSR, is an enterprise management practice where firms integrate social, philanthropic, charitable, or environmental concerns into their business operations and their stakeholders’ relationships.

In today’s corporate environment, any self-respecting business will be involved in one or several of these activities. Examples include giant multinational corporations giving back to the areas and communities they do business with and smaller entities donating part of their profit to charities and other non-profit organizations.

Still, for a CSR strategy to work, two things should always be at the forefront. The first one is honesty. If all your organization is doing is paying lip service to how great it is but not doing anything about it, existing and potential customers will know.

The second is choosing something that goes in line with your operations. If your small business is in the food industry, you could support local soup kitchens or give away extra food. A good option for firms in the technology sector would be to give back by providing IT knowledge and education.

Exceptional Customer Service

Aside from many other things, the East Asian nation of Japan is known worldwide for its exceptional customer service. For those who have been there, the phrase “the customer is God” will come as no surprise as it is uttered by salespeople and company managers almost daily.

But what does this expression entail? Better yet, how can it be applied to your small business?

Answers to these and other questions are unfortunately not as straightforward as one would hope for. Nevertheless, there are certain things your organization can do to provide its clientele with a great experience.

Among others, a few of them are:

Welcoming any person that walks into your store with a smile and showing gratitude. A simple “thank you for coming into our shop” will suffice if said with honesty.
Giving customers a time frame on when they can expect a response. Instead of saying we will answer as soon as possible, tell them it will take a maximum of 24 hours before they hear from you. And stick to it.
Treating people as individuals. Don’t give everyone you meet the same spiel. Offer customized solutions that fit specific needs.

Providing exceptional customer service is not magic. All it takes is a bit of effort, commitment, and dedication.

As we have seen, there are different strategies new businesses can put in place to stand out among the competition. Along with being useful, all three are uncomplicated, cost-effective measures that will reap your firm the best possible results. 

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