Stay hungry, stay foolish.
“Stay hungry, stay foolish.” Though Steve Jobs spoke these words to Stanford University graduates in 2005 rather than modern business owners, the notion applies today. It’s a sense of wonder (matched with a bit of hunger and foolishness) that inspires retail entrepreneurs to start a small business in an ever-changing and hypercompetitive industry.
Running a small business brings a number of challenges, but it also includes some unique superpowers that can offer you a competitive advantage against big-box retailers. Here’s our top five, and how you can use them to become a leader in your niche.
More shoppers than ever are turning to online retail stores . While not all retailers can afford to operate a brick-and-mortar shop, when it comes to eCommerce, the playing field is level. With a technically proficient and design-minded partner, you can create a stunning online store that’s synced with your brick-and-mortar operations to provide maximum visibility to your customers.
Innovations in online search have made it possible for consumers to find exactly what they want, down to every last detail. The result — specialty stores are thriving now, from footwear to diamonds to organic puppy treats. (See MarisePetite.com – Specialized in Women Fashion for Petite sizes)
When you have expertise in a particular niche, your customers choose you because they feel a real connection to your unique product, mission and brand.
Be innovative. Take risks.As a small retailer, agility is your middle name. You don’t have to send every new idea through a rigorous screening process involving multiple stakeholders. Instead, you can try something new and adapt to your customers’ needs on a whim.
Be on the front lines.
Executives at big companies tend to be a bit isolated from daily operations and real customers, but as a small business owner you’re present for every moment. From the daily lives of your employees and cofounders to the feedback from customers, you’re privy to every detail.
What sets your small business apart from bigger competitors, ultimately, is a sense of togetherness — between you and your employees, your business and the community at large. According to a Harvard Business Review article, when people work in teams larger than 20 people, “the tendency to collaborate naturally decreases.” This likely confirms what you’ve already experienced in your daily work: small business feels like family, and family creates a type of loyalty that just can’t be replicated by bigger companies — no matter their market share.