By Rachel Fowler
A Princeton survey reported at SmallBusiness showed that not less than 67% of Americans favor small business.
With this in mind, I decided to try my best in small business in America right after graduation. It has been a long journey with lots of painful mistakes. So to save you time, I decided to give you some of my personal tips on how to stand out as a brand.
Make it clear what your brand is. Merchandising, products and logo are very important but not as important as your brand. It is mostly about the experiences of your customers summed with visual elements and customers’ interactions. Take into account that your PR company, your internet publications, mentions and even your social media should be presented in the exact same tone to get your customers’ trust.
Stand out from the crowd of competitors. Unless you have designed a new source of power that can replace oil and gas, you have to be different in order to stand out from the crowd of competitors. Pinpoint your strong sides that make your brand unique. Don’t forget to include your differentiation in your marketing materials.
Make great products. No one will doubt that the key to being successful among small business companies is to have great products. If your product is lacking quality or service, no PR company will help you. Word of mouth is the best marketing tool and you should use it well. Getting your customers to recommend you to their friends is a big deal, which shouldn’t be underestimated.
Ensure that your customers know the face behind the product. Most small businesses fail because of the repetitive absence of the owner. Take the “Kitchen Nightmares” television show as a simple example- no restaurant can stay open, if the business is being run by itself. You have to be everywhere and literally know everything that goes on in your company. Your employees will look up to you and if you are not engaged, neither will they be.
Make a recognizable name and logo. It is important to make an effective logo at the beginning. Changing logo and worse the name of the company can be quite costly down the road. It should be recognizable and reflect the nature of your product as much as possible. For example, if you have a dog company, your name should be closely associated and recognizable among your target audience. Take “Woofies” and “Doggone Natural” as examples. Both names reflect the nature of the product and are easily recognized by customers.
Make a value proposition. This shouldn’t be confused with a price. The value means to think what your customers need, instead of thinking what you want from them. Put yourself in their shoes, spend a day with your customer, and see what he/she likes, what are his/her hobbies, day routine, job, budget problems. Only after you understand the needs of your customer you will understand the value of your product.
What are your lessons learned starting out as a young brand/company?
This is a post by Rachel Fowler, a recent graduate from NYU. Right now she works as an independent contributor at http://pumpic.com/
Featured image via Flickr CC: kenda bustami